By signing up for frequent flyer programs, you’ll be accumulating rewards whenever you spend with that company. So, why be loyal to a single program if you take just a few trips a year?
It’s sounds like a wise strategy to be a member of as many airline and hotel loyalty programs as possible. Some of them have even cross promote frequent flyer programs with other airlines so that more consumers would stay loyal to them. That is what Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airlines, Air New Zealand, Delta Airlines and partners have done. Flying with any of the airlines earns you frequent flier points that you can spend with an airline of your choice, provided it is a part of their large network.
But, how does someone get the most out of frequent-flier programs and rack up the most number of miles in the least amount of time? The following article will answer this query and list all the techniques used by the pros.
Fly for free, regularly!
Signup for a few good travel credit cards, just collect miles, and fly for free. You should go for the cards that offer bonuses of 30,000 points or above on signing up, and have low spending minimum (preferably less than $1000). Some credit cards give extra points (sometimes 2-3 points per dollar) whenever you shop with a particular brand or at a specific retailer. For people who travel and fly a lot, there are cards with annual fees that have better rewards scheme. With such cards you can receive elite loyalty-status or other extra perks, which are great for priority benefits and free upgrades.
Churn the cards for bonuses
You will need to churn-off the credit cards for bonuses. Get a new one with signup bonus, satisfy the minimum spending requirements, get the bonus and benefits, and cancel the card. Now, rinse and repeat. Be careful as this may negatively affect your credit rating.
Mix them up!
If you choose to sign up for a general rewards-card (like AMEX card or Chase Sapphire) along with an airline credit card, it’s possible to combine the benefits of 2 point-balances and get cheap flights faster.
Manufactured spending for more points
In simple words, you get yourself a gift-card from a retailer that offers you 5x points, and the gift-card is convertible to a money order, or something similar. You will put the money order back into a bank account and then pay-off the credit card bill. You will profit as long as the charges of all transactions are lower than the value of points you get out of it.
Hotel stays can get you extra points
Even hotels have their loyalty programs, and many will offer you the option of crediting your stay to an airline. The number of miles earned is generally either a flat-rate per stay (500 miles, for instance), or dependent on your total billing during the stay.
How about some online shopping?
Every airline has a section in their website that will lead you to the popular online retailers like Amazon and iTunes Store.
Special offers are worthwhile
Who doesn’t hate email spam? But, letting your preferred airline send you regular emails on the latest special offers might just pay off. In case you aren’t interested in an offer, deleting the email only takes a second.
Saving your “miles” is important!
A penny saved is a penny earned. Same goes for points and miles. Here are two tips to save them:
1. Don’t let them expire
Although some airlines promise the loyalty program members that the miles won’t expire, most need some kind of account activity once every 18-24 months before the points begin expiring. However, there is no need to actually fly somewhere to be able to retain your points. You may spend some points to buy any item online using the airline’s shopping portal, or transfer miles between the airline programs using Points.com
2. Don’t spend your miles on low-cost tickets
If you can afford to buy a ticket, just purchase it and rack up some more miles. Get the most bang for the buck by utilizing the miles for more expensive tickets, for example in case of an international flight or a last-minute domestic flight.
Guest post written by Anita. She adores travel, swimming and is passionate about expanding awareness about the importance of the eco friendly movement.
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