Who says loyalty doesn’t count for anything? While it may be true that many airlines only offer their frequent flyer customers a small selection of available seats on certain flights, there are still many reasons why they’re still worth collecting. Here are some of the best ways to take advantage of your frequent flyer miles.
Know what you’re working with
This may sound simple, but one of the keys to maximizing your mileage is actually knowing how many miles you have. Use free sites like AwardWallet to help keep track of your frequent flyer miles and credit card points. Plus, it’ll let you know when your points are about to expire so that you don’t let any go to waste!
Make sure you pick the rewards program that’s right for you
Everyone should have a frequent flyer account with the airline that they fly with the most often. If you fly regularly enough, it’s also worth getting a credit card that will reward you with bonus travel miles. However, not all travel rewards programs are created equal. In addition to some programs having a better rate of return than others, many programs only cater to certain types of spenders. Check out sites like MileCards, which will create a personalized profile for you based on your spending habits and recommend the travel rewards credit cards that are best for you.
Take advantage of bonus rewards miles
You have to eat, right? Five major airlines are offering bonus frequent flyer miles just for going out to eat. Most airlines offer bonus miles for dining at select restaurants through Rewards Network. On average, you can earn 3-5 bonus miles per dollar spent at participating restaurants. Many of these programs also offer additional promotions that can give you even more bonus reward miles, so keep those on your radar as well.
Be strategic when cashing in your miles. International flights are almost always the best deal for frequent flyer miles. In fact, U.S. domestic routes and small fares under $300 are often not a great value for reward travel. Once you’re overseas, routes in foreign countries can be your best bang for your buck in terms of maximizing your frequent rewards miles. Also make sure to book online in order to avoid booking fees.
Book early & avoid peak travel times
One of the best ways to ensure that you get your preferred flights is by making sure your reserve your trip far in advance. Doing so can not only ensure premium availability, but it can also help you get a better deal. By avoiding peak travel seasons such as Christmas and Spring Break, you can save up to 75%, but if you absolutely need to travel during these busy seasons, you should book your flight months in advance. Otherwise, you may end up with an early-morning flight or one involving many layovers.