Many of us are unaware of the myriad ways in which we can earn sky miles or frequent flyer miles in our names. These miles may just be numbers to most of us, but as they add up, we can transform them into beautiful vacations in exotic lands!
What are frequent flyer miles?
The concept of frequent flyer miles as is used currently was started by American Airlines in 1981, in response to an earlier attempt by a California Airline Western Airlines which was eventually bought over by Delta Airlines. Since then, each registered member can rack up enormous amounts (hundreds of thousands) of miles from travel, purchases or rental cars. As you build up miles, you enter several levels of award tiers where you can get not only frequent flyer miles per trip, but extra bonus miles, early boarding, lounges in airports and first class service throughout your travels.
How can we get them?
Presently, there are programs for almost every type of frequent flyer programs. Let us go through each of them;
Flights – Most people join one or two of the major frequent flyer programs. Too many of them and it may take a long time to gather the miles you need for free flights. A maximum of three programs is a good mix and match since we can make reservations for flights on three different airline choices. Make sure that you give the airline or travel agent your frequent flyer numbers so that they can add it to our “accounts”. There are many ways online to see our numbers adding up. Also, most airline sites award you additional miles just for purchasing tickets online at their sites! For American airlines, the frequent flyer program, which is called AAdvantage can be checked online by logging into https://www.aa.com/ . Websites for some of the other major airlines frequent flyer programs are given below.
Credit cards – As they become more and more popular, people are becoming more selective with the awards that are accrued by each of them. Discover was among the first cards to offer returns on our purchases as a thanks to using their cards. For customers who pay their bills in full every month, these bonuses quickly add up to savings in miles or money or other gifts. If you go to the site https://www.citicards.com/cards/wv/home.do and click on “Find the perfect card for you”, you are taken through a maze of available credit cards, some of which can help you build up frequent flyer miles that will get you many free flights. With each purchase you make you can build your nest up in the sky!
Online purchases – Again, you can double dip into your dessert by using the above credit cards through specialize online portals owned by airlines that will give you many miles for every dollar you spend on purchases through those portals. Check out the site www.aadvantageeshopping.com to see the various options in shopping for everyday purchases. It is a good idea to check out these sites periodically so that we can find out when specials are offered as double miles or triple miles per purchase. If we sign up for these deals, we will get emailed newsletter which alert us about more opportunities.
Miles for meals – Similar to obtaining miles for buying regular items, we can also get miles for eating at special restaurants (iDine). Some of the popular schemes are the same airline rewards programs which have deals with major restaurants to encourage diners to frequent these restaurants whenever they have the need to dine out. One major site that caters to this is http://nwa.rewardsnetwork.com/index.jsp where you can register your miles programs numbers and will be allowed to search their database for restaurants in our area that offer miles for meals
Auto Miles – Sometimes, businesses such as automobile showrooms strike up deals with airlines to offer miles to customers. One deal where I received 1500 miles was based on test driving a brand new American car. It was a pleasure driving the car and it was double pleasure to receive more miles than I would’ve received if I had taken a flight!
Any other ways?
E-Miles – Some websites allow people to preview advertisements in exchange of miles. These may add up to a certain amount when their miles program of their choice will be credited. The only drawback is the mileage will reach a pre-set limit only if you buy some of the deals in the ads. If you don’t reach the limit per quarter, you lose all the miles in our e-Miles account! http://www.e-miles.com/
As you can see, every day you have many opportunities to get sky miles. Grocery shopping (special miles at certain supermarkets plus miles if you use the miles rewards credit cards), ordering stuff online through the special shopping portals and then getting more miles for using the special credit cards, use your card for booking flights and other big ticket items, etc are a few of the ways by which you can accumulate thousands of miles that you can use for free tickets.
Also watch out for special days when the major airlines reduce their requirements in sky miles for free flights to certain destinations. Although the regular free ticket for a local Delta flight may be 25,000 sky miles, there are special occasions when I have seen the flights available for as little as 20,000 sky miles. Also, you can transfer miles from people who are not using it or give miles to charity or to people who can use it. These are usually performed at the airline websites.
Keep watching the websites for more deals on car rental dealerships, hotels and other customer amenities that may come as a package deal with many more miles attached to them. Again, these are mainly seen on the major airline sites or credit card sites
So where do I sign up?
Delta Airlines https://www.delta.com/ ( Sky Miles )
United http://www.united.com/ ( Mileage Plus )
US Airways http://www.usairways.com/awa/ ( Dividend Miles )
Alaska Airlines http://www.alaskaair.com/ (Mileage Plan )
Air Canada http://www.aircanada.com/en/home.html (Aero plan)
AeroMexico http://www.aircanada.com/en/home.html (Club Premier)
Northwest Airlines http://www.nwa.com/ (World perks)
Singapore Airlines http://www.singaporeair.com/ (Kris Flyer)
Korean Air http://www.koreanair.com/ (sky pass)
Jet Airways http://www.jetairways.com ( Jet Privilege
Or go to http://www.kls2.com/airlines/n-america.html to find all major airlines in North America and join the frequent flyer programs of your favorite carriers. You can keep an eye on the online shopping portals via http://www.webflyer.com/deals/mileage_mall/
Enjoy your free flights! Bon Voyage! J