Sunday, December 26, 2010 -- I can't believe I didn't know about this before

I've been a member of frequent flyer clubs since they first appeared in the mid-1980s. In those early days, it was easy to keep track of your miles. You just signed up for all of the programs and waited for the statements to come, telling you how close you were to your next free trip.

I don't travel as frequently as I did back then, yet keeping track of all those mileage programs has gotten exponentially harder. These days, the programs seem to change every couple of years, the benefits are much more complicated, and if you don't stay active in a program, they take away all of your hard-earned miles. To make matters worse, I now have a family of four, which means I have to keep track of four times as many memberships -- more then 50, to be specific. It wasn't supposed to be this complicated!

In recent years I've dreamed of finding a single-login consolidator where I could keep track of all of the miles from all of my family's programs. When I accidentally forfeited over 50,000 miles recently because I lost track of the expiration dates, I knew I had to act.

Turns out I didn't have to look very far.

is such a service, and best of all, it's free, so it's easy to try. Honestly, it's exactly what I dreamed of. You enter your frequent flyer numbers and passwords for every account you have -- airlines, hotels, rental cars, even cash back programs and gift cards. From that point forward, a single login to gets you instant access to every program in a single clean user interface, along with balances and expiration dates.

It gets better. I don't think my dream service could have better-envisioned the way AwardWallet handles multiple accounts. Every member of my family has a login, but they are all connected to my account as well, so I can quickly view the balance, status and expiration dates of all my family's mileage programs.

It gets better. Because AwardWallet logs in and automatically checks my mileage accounts, it also can keep track of my travel plans, and sends timely reminders for online check-ins, plus confirmations after my travel is completed.

Almost every feature is free. Tracking expiration dates for more than 3 programs requires signing up for the "Plus" service, but the price is right -- AwardWallet lets you pay what you think it's worth. You can unlock all the features for as little as a dollar.

I can't recommend AwardWallet enough, and hope that people will sign up for the "Plus" service to help support its continued operation. For me, it's a dream come true.

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