Whether you’re a frequent flier or someone who travels once in a blue moon, air miles can be extremely beneficial to understand. As an incentive for customers to shop and fly more, air miles can be utilized to gain a plethora of freebies.
If you’re an expert, you’ll be able to stack up plenty of points for redeeming merchandise or even a free flight. However, gaining points or redeeming them can be quite confusing, especially if you’ve just started getting into the concept. Keep reading for a list of 10 useful facts that are great to know about air miles! Who knows, these may help you get that long-needed vacation to Hawaii!
Although redeeming your hard-earned miles may sound easy and simple, the fact of the matter is that different airlines will have very different policies about what you are and aren’t allowed to receive. Before you go all out on a mile-earning binge, do your homework to see which reward you really want.
For example, American Airlines is partnered with many South American and Asian airlines, so their reward flights will be more plentiful towards those areas, while United miles are more zoned towards Europe. Another issue is the value of your miles. While Delta has a complicated system based on demand, price, and other factors, Southwest simply gives a flat rate of 1.67 cents per mile.
If you’re smart about choosing credit cards, they may turn out to offer huge bonuses in miles and points towards your preferred airline. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card offers 60,000 bonus points when you sign up for a card and meet a certain purchase amount. While there is an annual fee, you’ll end up saving money on your flights depending on the number of your travels.
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Additionally, traveling credit cards often include benefits such as earning double points, travel insurance, and free checked luggage. Another factor to keep in mind is that the better the credit score you have, the better your mileage bonuses will be, so keep working at improving those numbers!
If you’re planning on making purchases at brands such as Nike, Apple, Dell, Sephora, or Microsoft, (there are tons of others) you need to check if you can apply your purchase towards free miles.
Most major airlines will have partner brands where every dollar you spend will count towards a certain number of points. By making everyday purchases online through these partnered brands, you’ll be able to stack up on miles. Just make sure you’re going through a special portal in order to get the points you deserve. There’s nothing easier than doing what you would do normally while collecting some bonus miles!
In order to get the most out of your vacation, you might consider a stopover. That way, you’ll be able to experience more places on one trip. Interestingly enough, many airlines have included the option for stopovers on your free flight that you can redeem through points.
Be sure to do your homework and carefully read through stopover rules for your airline before deciding on a destination! Doing so will help you get the most out of your hard-earned free flight. In addition to stop-overs, you should also keep an eye on potential open-jaw flight options for other ways to soak up the fun on your vacation.
If you’re familiar with air miles at all, you might receive a fancy pamphlet featuring all types of free merchandise that you can redeem using your miles. However, it’s important to clear your head and really see the pricing on these products before you waste your miles.
Often, you’ll end up losing a lot of potential value by redeeming your air miles for a cooking set for about 81,000 miles (about $1200 in value) when you can easily purchase the set for less than half of the price. In fact, it’s a good idea to avoid redeeming for merchandise at all. You’re more likely to get more bang for your buck by putting those points towards a free flight.
Sadly, your free vacation won’t be completely customizable. Different airline companies are partnered with different areas of the world, and will usually offer a list of available destinations or reward options. While the lack of choice can be frustrating, you can look upon this as an opportunity to explore parts of the world that you’ve never even thought about going to.
Who knows? You could be absolutely transfixed on your destination, and it’ll definitely be a great story to tell. In addition to flights, you could also opt for a nice cruise or benefits toward a free hotel stay with your miles. Either way, keep an open mind for all the wonderful surprises to come!
In addition to online shopping, you should also keep an eye out for possible air miles rewards for eating at certain restaurants. Before you go out to binge eat at all the places, however, do your homework on what sort of dining plan is offered by your airline.
Most companies will offer you 1-3 points for every dollar spent at participating in meal locations. Although the reward is smaller compared to larger online purchases, you should still soak up those free miles when you have the urge to eat out. Leave a cash tip, not your free airline miles on the table!
If you’re a frequent flier or tend to fly business class, chances are you’re earning more miles in all sorts of ways. Not only will you get a percent increase on the number of miles earned while flying, but you’re likely to gain more points per dollar spent for dining programs or online shopping sprees. The best way to get elite status is simply to pick an airplane company and stick to it.
For example, United offers silver, gold, platinum, and 1K levels for their elite status, and with each increasing hierarchy, more bonuses are unlocked. Sometimes, you’ll be able to earn up to 2x miles just from being a regular flier at one company!
For multiple reasons, you should try to spend your miles once your goal has been reached instead of becoming a hoarder. For one, most airline miles will expire in a year and a half unless you continue to earn them.
By hoarding your miles, you’re increasing the chances of losing them altogether. Secondly, value for miles and requirements for rewards are subject to change without notice. To avoid losing value in your miles, you should redeem that free vacation as soon as you’ve earned enough for it. After all, it’s better to get the reward now than to hoard and have the price go up!
In terms of airline miles, people tend to refer to the credit as either points or miles. The difference is simply that miles are technically from your airline, while points are from banks. However, they’re normally completely interchangeable with each other. However, points are often offered more flexibility and can be transferred to rewards other than airline miles.
Before deciding what to redeem, always check if your points can be accurately transferred to airline miles and if that’s truly how you want to spend them. Miles are typically more restricted to airline rewards rather than general rewards, so consider carefully before making the exchange!