How to Maximize Frequent Flyer Miles

Airlines2 years ago
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Collecting frequent flyer miles is one of the best methods for travel, whether you are collecting points on ordinary purchases or when you travel. But how exactly do you make the most of your frequent flyer miles to make sure that you are collecting as many miles as you can, as quickly as possible?

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Research the Most Generous Frequent Flyer Miles Programs

When deciding which frequent flyer miles programs to apply for, there are several factors you should keep in mind. The decision about which programs to go with will vary from person to person according to travel habits. So, consider:

Which airline or airline alliances do you fly with most often?

How easy is it to earn frequent flyer miles using the program?

How much are the program air miles worth? (it may be a lot easier to build up Airmiles on one airline, but you may also need a lot more to make a dent on your next airline ticket purchase.)

You will need to take all of this into account when deciding which frequent flyer miles to apply for and whether you should apply for more than one program.

Research Airline Partners and Alliances

When you get a credit card that allows you to collect frequent flyer points or join a rewards program with a certain airline, it can be a natural assumption that you will only be allowed to collect frequent flyer miles when traveling on their planes.

However, many airlines will have partner airlines and alliances and will allow you to collect frequent flyer miles when using their services as well!** Making sure that you know which airlines are partners with your frequent flyers account airline can help you increase your overall number of miles much quicker.

Which Airlines are in Alliances?

Lots of airlines are members of global alliances with airlines in different territories. The great benefit of this is not only can you use flights on these other airlines to collect points on your frequent flyers accounts, but you will also usually be able to spend your frequent flyer miles on these airlines as well!

The three main airline alliances which will allow you to maximize your frequent flyer points collection are Star AllianceOneworld, and SkyTeam.


One World Airline Alliance Includes:

  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Japan Airlines


Star Alliance Airlines Include:

  • United Airlines
  • Air Canada
  • Lufthansa
  • Swiss International


Sky Team Alliance Airlines Include:

  • Delta
  • Virgin Atlantic (as of early 2023)
  • Air France
  • Korean Air


So, as you can see, if you regularly travel abroad for business using non-domestic carriers, that doesn't necessarily mean you won't be able to collect any frequent flyer points on your journey.

As well as being members of carrier alliances some airlines also have separate partnerships with other carriers. So, when you open your frequent flyer account with a particular airline, one of your first actions should be to note down all the applicable airlines you will be able to gain frequent flyer miles with and consult this whenever you are booking your flights.


Make Sure that You Know the Fare Code When Booking Your Flight

To work out the number of miles you will earn on a flight, you will need to discover the fare code for the flight. This code doesn't refer to the class of seat you have booked but is a separate code that will determine the rate at which you will earn air miles with your flight purchase.


Where Can You Find the Code for Your Flight?

Your flight code is a one-letter designation such as F, J, or W which will correspond with the type of booking you have made and the rate at which you will be able to collect air miles. But sometimes it can be difficult to discover exactly what the code is.

In a lot of cases, you will be able to discover your fare code when you receive your confirmation email after booking your flight. You should look for the section on your confirmation under the title FARE, hopefully, you should then be able to spot your fare code letter.

You can also log into your account with the airline, head to the My Bookings section, and see if you can discover the information in your saved flights.

If not, you will need to do a little more research using a flight search engine and follow the process as if you are about to rebook your flight, when you select your flight, the fare code may be displayed. However, if you are doing this some days after your original booking you need to be aware that the code may have changed during that time.

You could also try contacting the airline directly to ask them to confirm what your fare code is.


How to Work Out How Much You'll Earn with your Fare Code

You can check the airline rewards chart to work out how much your miles are worth for each fare code.

However, unfortunately not all airlines make this information easy to search for, so you can also use a third-party website to discover how much credit you'll receive under each fare code. A website such as WhereToCredit will allow you to input the fare code and the airline you are flying with to discover the rate at which you'll be able to earn frequent flyer points per mile flown.


When Booking Your Flights Check the Cheap Times to Fly and be Flexible with Your Destination

Once you have collected enough points to spend on an airline ticket, you will want to make sure that you go about finding cheap flights to make the most of your points. One of the easiest ways to go about this is to try to book your flight with a departure date that falls on a day when it is cheaper to fly.

If you can't be flexible about your dates, how about the destination? You'll be able to snag some great deals if you are open to booking a vacation flight to a variety of wonderful locations.


Summary - How to Maximize Frequent Flyer Miles

Joining frequent flyer miles programs remains one of the best hacks for travel around. And with some research, you can use cheap flight hacks to ensure that you collect your points as quickly as possible and get the cheapest flight possible using your points.

Whether you are looking to cut down costs on vacation travel or save money on business trips, make sure that you look up the cheap times to fly on the least expensive days of the week when spending your miles to make sure they save you as much money as possible. 

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