Frequent Flyer Programs

Tips for Frequent Flyers

In real meaning, a frequent flyer is a person who travels on a regular basis through airlines. These persons can be addicted to traveling to explore many countries, or it can be business travelers who regularly fly for work.

Most of the frequent flyers sign up for a frequent-flyer program for availing a number of benefits in return for their loyalty towards an airline. Moreover, if you frequently fly for business or to visit family several times each year, then you might be already familiar with the magic of frequent flyer programs.

Sometimes you may also face headaches and hassles associated with any corporate reward program. On the other side, there are several benefits when you choose the right program and use it to your best advantage.

A Complete Guide to Pick the Right Frequent Flyer Program for Yourself

It is really important to pick the right frequent flyer program. These programs help you to get the best of your flying dreams. Moreover, flying through the supreme classes of the top airlines has become easy due to these comprehensive programs.

You might be flying with a particular airline for several years, but its frequent flyer program may not be the best for you. There is a need to explore your options if you wish to have the right frequent flyer program for yourself.

Most of the time, you may have to figure out some ways through which you can earn miles for having the best program. To make sure you get more benefits, either in free flights or elite traveler perks, consolidate your miles into as few airlines as possible.

The more miles that you can build on one card by using that airline or its partners, the faster you get your rewards. You can go through the following guidelines on the basis of which you can select an appropriate program.

Stay Clear About Your Goals

Before you select the ideal program for yourself, it is important to identify what you are looking for. Most of the flyers want to earn free flights or want to enhance their status.

If you desire to improve your status and make perks like accessing the premium lounges, then you have to search for similar airline programs. On the other side, if you want to earn free flights, there is no need for you to be physically present as you earn them through dining out and shopping.

The Type of Traveler

Having a suitable frequent flyer program also depends on the type of traveler you are. Business travelers get the most benefits of these programs.

It is because they travel more frequently, and collecting miles is relatively easier for them. Their aim is probably not a free flight but to get the perks and services that come with elite traveler status.

On the other side, for frequent travelers, the aim is to discover a frequent flyer program that helps them to earn the maximum amount of free flights. Leisure travelers are often in the market for that promised free flight.

One important condition that leisure travelers should keep in mind is the expiration date on their mileage programs. Most of the major carriers have eliminated expiration dates as long as there is some activity on the account every couple of years.

Moreover, frequent travelers need to pay close attention to any expiration dates when considering a program for themselves.

Study the Alliances

Alliances have totally changed the flying experience of frequent flyers. It is better if the alliances are stronger.

You have to go through the different programs to pick the right frequent flyer program as no one knows your requirements better than you. If possible, it is advisable to pick one program for each alliance for getting the best advantages of the perks.

What are the Ways to Earn Miles

For earning miles, there is no need for you to fly anymore. Credit cards are the best alternative way to build mileage while you shop.

As you choose your frequent flyer program, you need to consider the affiliated credit card for that carrier. After all, why not earn miles while you shop? Before signing on to any card, though, some important considerations are the APR and annual fees.

Many airline-affiliated credit cards will charge anywhere from $25 to125 in annual fees. However, if you pay your card off in full every month and use it frequently, it may be a viable mileage source.

Another way to put up miles is with a card such as American Express or Diners Club that awards points for each purchase. These points can then be converted to miles for participating airlines.

You might get better interest rates, and your annual fee may be less, but you also may have to pay your balance in full each month. The points you earn will not count dollar for dollar as they do for airline affiliated credit cards.

In addition, they do offer more flexibility among airlines, so if you do have multiple frequent flyer accounts, you can distribute them accordingly.

What do you Get for Your Miles?

Frequent flyers can enjoy the benefits of an elite status within the club. It gives them greater access to upgrades as well as more recognition from the airline.

For availing the benefits of the elite status, a traveler must typically fly at least 25,000 miles, or 30 flight segments, within a calendar year. On the other hand, to have a free flight, infrequent leisure travelers have to build 20,000-25,000 miles over a period of time(most carriers will not expire the miles as long as there is activity on the account every couple of years).

Start Adding Miles

The best way to put up miles is to fly on frequent intervals. You can also travel through one carrier or the carrier’s partners as often as possible.

Go through your partner’s carrier’s policies and always provide your frequent flyer number when booking your flights. Make sure to read your statements carefully and compare your mileage figures with the airline’s figures.

Read your program’s newsletter, and always watch the “bonus box” for additional ways to earn miles.

The Breakdown

Airline Free US Flights Elite Status Expirations
Airtran 8 flight credits 10 flight credits in 90 days or 25 flight credits in 365 days Expires after one year
Alaska Restricted: 20,000

Unrestricted: 40,000

MVP: 20,000 miles/30 segments per year

MVP Gold: 40,000 miles/60 segments per year

MVP Gold 75K: 75,000 miles/90 segments per year

Expires after two years of inactivity
American Off-peak: 12,500

Restricted: 25,000

Unrestricted: 40,000

Gold: 25,000 miles/30 segments per year

Platinum: 50,000 miles/60 segments per year

Executive Platinum: 100,000/100 segments per year

Expires after 18 months of inactivity
Delta Off-peak: 12,500

Restricted: 25,000

Unrestricted 40,000

Silver: 25,000 miles/30 segments per year

Gold: 50,000 miles/60 segments per year

Platinum: 75,000 miles/100 segments per year

Diamond: 125,000 miles/140 segments per year

Never expires
Frontier Starting at 12,500 miles Ascent: 15,000 miles/20 segments per year

Summit: 25,000 miles/30 segments per year

Expires after two years of inactivity
JetBlue Starting at 5,000 miles 15,000 Expires after one year of inactivity
Southwest Business select: 120 points per dollar

Anytime: 100 points per dollar

Want to getaway: 60 points per dollar

A-List: 35,000 miles/25 segments

A-List Preferred: 70,000 miles/50 segments

Companion Pass: 110,000 miles/100 segments

Expires after two years of inactivity
United Off-peak: 12,500

Restricted: 25,000

Unrestricted: 40,000

Premier Silver: 25,000 miles/30 segments

Premier Gold: 50,000 miles/60 segments

Premier Platinum: 75,000 miles/90 segments

Premier 1K: 100,000 miles/120 segments

Expires after 18 months of inactivity

Conclusion

Frequent flyer programs change frequently to offer the best advantages to the high rollers. Moreover, there are several ways to earn miles without actually traveling and overpaying for them.