Mastering the frequent flyer programs
This is no big news for regular airline travellers. Frequent flyer programmes are there to provide many extras for them. Did you know that being a frequent flyer is worth it even if you don't spend most of your time on the plane?
How it works?
Almost every airline has them. Rewards for loyal passengers. Here's how i works. The distance travelled (mostly in miles or kilometres) is added up to your customer account. If you manage to reach a certain amount of miles travelled in selected period, you are eligible for a reward.
What can i get?
Various bonus rewards are available. Each loyalty program often offers slightly different premiums. Flight upgrade possibilities are the most common rewards found on every loyalty program. Collected miles can be exchanged for a better flight ticket. This way you can enjoy the comfort of first class travelling for the price of an economy ticket. Even entire tickets can be exchanged for miles. You just need a bit more of them. And what's more, airline services are not the only reward options. Is is possible to pay for accomodation in a partner hotel or even book a car with your miles.
Useful tips and tricks
Unfortunatelly, things are not that simple in real life. Competition in airline business is overwhelming. As a result, there are countless loyalty programmes available. Not mentioning several airline aliances offering their own frequent flyer bonuses. Here are some tips for you to get the best out of the rewads offered. First thing is to use one particular airline (or airline alliance) for as many of your flights as possible. It is a good thing to know your most used destinations and pick an airline accordingly. If you are flying with an airline for the first time apply for it's frequent flyer also. Miles collected might come in handy some time in the future. Another good thing to know is that bonus miles can actually be bought. So if you are a few miles short for your desired award you just go ahead and buy them.
Always go for the status
A frequent flyer should always go for the status. In order to get to the best rewards status is a must. Don't exchange miles for rewards immediately, let them add up on your account to be given an elite status. Many bonuses are given to status holders automatically. You can get free ticket upgrades, free entries in the airline's airport lounges and many more. Simply a better overall service for free.
Remember, next time you fly, it is with a frequent flyer membership only. Only a handful of airlines don't reward their loyal customers (Ryanair amongst the large ones). Applying is free and only takes a few minutes to complete. It is AAdvantage with American Airlines, Skymiles with Delta Air Lines, Dividend Miles with US Airways or Mileage Plus with United Airlines.
Jiří Parimucha, Oct 7, 2010
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