Is your frequent flyer program working for you? A little bit of time and effort can help make the most of your program. Start by determining what you want from your frequent flyer program. Your goal could be free flights, upgrades, hotel stays, car rentals, or even gift cards. Your departure city and the destinations you frequent for business/pleasure will be the next determining factor. Which airlines fly those routings? Who partners with them domestically and internationally?
Look for a card that matches your preferred hotel and car rental company as these are important point getters in conjunction with your frequent flyer program. Some hotel reward programs allow you to choose from earning guest hotel points or airline miles directly.
Quick points to check â€“ are the redemption award levels offered by the card within reach of your goals? -when could your mileage potentially expire? Keep track of this important date. And when it comes time to redeem your points, be aware there are black out dates and limited numbers of seats on any given flight available for redemption. Frequent flyer programs gave away almost 30 million free tickets in the USA alone in 2005.
Communication is key â€“ keep current with your frequent flyer program by reading any snail mail/email received as well as visiting their website weekly to check for exclusive online promotions. Some airlines offer scheduled discount programs throughout the year while others even offer bonus points for referring your friends to their program.
It also pays to track your own miles â€“ check your account online frequently to make sure all of your points are showing up. Itâ€™s easy to miss miles especially if youâ€™re double dipping by using your frequent flyer programâ€™s affinity credit card to maximize your points earning potential. This is a great way to earn miles for the flight, hotel or car rental along with the points for the dollar amount being charged to your credit card.
Over 12 million people in the USA are members of a frequent flyer program; of these members there are an amazing 10 trillion outstanding miles. If youâ€™re close to a reward, purchase any extra points you need to get to that level. And if youâ€™re not, donâ€™t let your outstanding miles go to waste – consider donating them to charity.
FYI, Southwest Airlines Rapid Reward program won the Freddie Award for the top rated frequent flyer program in the Americas for 2005. According to voters, Southwest offered â€œthe best combination of service, bonuses, awards, benefits and opportunities for its members.â€ Midwest Miles was a close second and the Alaska Mileage Plan rounding out the top three.