Want to get more out of your frequent flyer miles, and otherwise learn how to maximize their benefits? Check out these 7 tips and tricks for becoming the ultimate frequent flyer:
1) Keep Track!
One of the best and easiest ways to ensure you get what you want from your miles is by keeping track of them. Frequent flyer miles generally must be used within a specific period, and bonuses are often given if a certain amount of miles is used in a calendar year. Keeping careful track of your miles therefore ensures you use them in a timely manner, and helps you obtain bonuses. For example, if a deadline is approaching and you’re close to your miles goal, you may need to reschedule your trip.
2) Don’t Forget to Read
Remember to read your program’s newsletter and stay up-to-date on all discounts, promotions and other helpful information. The “bonus box” is usually found at the end of a newsletter, and features all current promotions.
3) Use Miles on Long Flights
Long flights are understandably more expensive than shorter ones. Rather than wasting miles on short flights, use them for long ones and save much more money!
4) Take Advantage of Stop-Overs
Yes, stop-overs can sometimes be difficult to deal with, especially if you’re dead-tired and just want to go home. However, they’re one of the easiest ways to rack up more frequent flyer miles, and they allow you to see more when you travel. For example, traveling through Europe carries a high probability of changing flights in London. Try doing a stop-over in London for a few days, seeing the city, and then flying to your next destination. You’ll earn extra miles thanks to two separate flights, see more of the world, and may even save on train fare.
5) Retain Receipts and Mileage Statements
Hold on to your mileage statements and ticket/travel receipts, and remember to check each statement carefully to make certain it matches how many miles you’ve actually used. If you find one or more errors, you’ll have your receipts and statements as documentation for filing a retroactive claim. Keep all hotel receipts, and anything else that proves you flew within a designated time frame. Most programs honor “retro” claims, especially if filed within six months of the transaction.
6) Don’t Purchase—Upgrade Instead
It’s common knowledge that first-class airline tickets are much more expensive than their economy class counterparts. However, flying first class is very, very nice when traveling long distances. Rather than paying for a first-class ticket up front, purchase an economy option and use miles to upgrade when checking in. This is an easy way to save money and ensure optimal comfort while traveling.
7) Book in Advance
If you want to use your miles during a peak travel season, then you better book in advance. Not only are peak seasons more expensive, flights fill up quickly, which makes utilizing frequent flyer miles challenging. Airlines will sometimes “change the rules” regarding how and when you can spend your miles, so booking as far in advance as possible may allow you to use your miles and avoid such hassles.
Use these tips to get more from your frequent flyer miles. Good luck and have fun travelling!