It’s time to pull the veil off of frequent flyer miles and what is assumed you can do with them. If you’re savvy you can really reap the rewards, but it’s time to understand what you should spend your time working towards and what you shouldn’t when it comes to miles.
Myth #1 – Frequent flyer miles are mainly earned by flying
Most people have cottoned on to this myth by now. Miles are generally not earned by how much or how far you fly anymore – initially this might have been the basis of a lot of reward programmes. However, now you mostly earn miles through a variety of different channels such as credit card signing bonuses, online shopping, promotions and any deals that the airlines are running throughout the year.
So, whilst you can still earn miles whilst flying it isn’t the most lucrative source.
Myth #2 – All frequent flyer miles are created equal
Just like any other currency, not all frequent flyer miles are the same and can vary a lot from airline to airline. So, basically 50,000 Amex points won’t be the same value as 50,000 Chase points, and similarly 50,000 United miles won’t equate to the same at 50,000 Delta miles.
This is due to a number of factors that airlines take into account to keep their costs low. When looking at accumulation of miles, don’t just rest on the fact you’re earning them, look at what type you’re earning and make sure you’re getting the best kind for what you need.
Consider airlines policies on how many miles it takes to fly from one place to another, if they charge a fuel surcharge, and if they allow for stopovers or open-jaws.
Myth #3 – Redeeming your award flight immediately is always the best practice
It can be easy to want to jump on an award flight the minute an airline releases it. You want to make the most of your hard earned miles, so why not spend them immediately and reap the rewards?
Actually, it isn’t necessarily the best idea to use your miles the moment an award flight comes up. To really make the best use of your award flights, you need to think about what really matters to you, in terms of routes, deals and destinations. Don’t jump on the first award flight or deal that is released from your preferred airline as they actually release award tickets in staggered time periods throughout the year – so the best one for you may not actually be the first one.
Take some time to go through what it is your really want and don’t be too hasty!
Myth #4 – It is difficult to find award ticket availability
It is common that people find it difficult to actually use their frequent flyer miles as award ticket availability isn’t always the best. That’s because generally you’re limiting yourself to looking solely at your primary airlines award offers.
To hack this you need to start thinking about the partner airlines in your airlines alliance. This is actually the best way to redeem really sweet deals, it just takes a little bit more time and being savvy. Understanding your airlines rules on fuel surcharges, stopovers and open-jaws as well as award tickets will let you know how much you can actually get.
The most important part is where to look for your award ticket, it might not necessarily be the most obvious, i.e. your main airlines website and searching for availability – but you need to go to your airlines partners and here you’ll find a bounty of award flights that might take your fancy.
It’s time to sharpen up your knowledge on what to do with your frequent flyer miles and don’t be discouraged by the myths floating around! There are good deals still out there, you just have to find them.