Since they first took off greater than 30 years in the past, frequent flyer packages have undergone as many adjustments because the airline trade itself. Whereas it’s nonetheless doable to reap some main rewards—or to waste time amassing factors you’ll by no means use—at present’s packages look very totally different from these of even a number of years in the past.

An enormous shift, notes Brian Kelly, who calls himself “The Factors Man” and runs the web site, has been in the best way many airways now calculate their rewards. Typically referred to as a “revenue-based mannequin,” it rewards vacationers for the amount of cash they spend quite than the miles they fly. In different phrases, frequent flyer packages have gotten severe spender packages.

That may be factor or a nasty one relying on the kind of traveler you’re. For those who sometimes fly in economic system class, you’re more likely to profit lower than earlier than. However, Kelly says, “simply a few journeys a 12 months in a premium class of service” may imply many hundreds of miles added to your account.

Although there could also be extra adjustments on the horizon, listed here are a few of at present’s greatest methods to earn airline miles.

Key Takeaways

  • Incomes frequent flyer miles can land you free flights, upgrades, and different journey perks.
  • Essentially the most primary strategy to earn factors is to fly typically and with the identical service.
  • You’ll be able to earn factors with out flying by signing up for a rewards bank card and utilizing it and purchasing with program companions.

1. Concentrate on The place You Fly

You’re most certainly to earn sufficient factors to really get one thing in return when you focus on simply a few airways that ply the routes you count on to fly. It’s higher to have 100,000 factors with one service than 10,000 every with 10. Observe, too, that factors might expire in case your account is inactive for a sure interval (sometimes 18 months). You’ll want to watch any account you open or threat dropping your miles—another excuse to maintain the quantity manageable.

2. Think about their Companions

Many airways belong to networks of home and international carriers, equivalent to Oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance. These organizations, which you change into a part of by signing up for a member airline’s frequent flyer program, assist you to earn, mix, and redeem miles on any accomplice airline. Once more, which of those you would possibly need to change into a part of will rely upon the airways you primarily fly. Their companions are listed on their websites.

3. Bag a Bonus

To entice you to enroll in bank cards co-branded with airways, bank card issuers often supply bonus miles, typically sufficient for a reward all by themselves. In fact, that’s within the massive print on their promotions. Within the smaller print, you’ll discover the phrases. For instance, some require you to spend a sure amount of cash inside a sure time to get rewards.

Most frequent flyer packages are free to affix, so there’s no hurt in signing up for a flock of them. For those who join a far bank card, it’s possible you’ll earn preliminary bonus miles, however your card might carry an annual price along with typical bank card curiosity and costs.

Alina Comoreanu, a analysis analyst with the finance web site, says that these playing cards are engaging in case you are planning an enormous journey within the close to future and already count on to spend a sure amount of cash. Keep in mind that they typically have hefty rates of interest—16.5% or larger is widespread. So, except you pay your invoice off every month, it is advisable weigh the worth of your bonus towards the curiosity costs.

4. Select the Proper Credit score Card

Utilizing a rewards bank card for your whole purchases (and paying it off every month) will be one other strategy to rack up sufficient miles for a reward. There are two primary kinds of playing cards to think about: the co-branded playing cards affiliated with an airline and extra common rewards playing cards that provide an assortment of awards, together with airline miles. “The principle distinction between the playing cards could be that the airline-affiliated playing cards are extra rewarding when used with mentioned airline, whereas the generic one gives a bigger spectrum of redeeming choices,” Comoreanu says.

For instance, the extra common rewards playing cards sometimes assist you to use your miles on quite a lot of airways, quite than only one. If you’re unlikely to make use of your miles for journey, you’ll be able to redeem them for different issues, together with money. “Straight up money again is all the time extra dependable,” Comoreanu says. “Factors can devalue simply and prospects might discover themselves receiving lower than after they first utilized for the cardboard.”

5. Dine Out

One other good strategy to pile up factors and maintain them from expiring is to hyperlink your bank card to a frequent flyer plan’s eating program, Kelly notes. If you cost a meal on that card at a collaborating restaurant, you’ll earn factors primarily based on the scale of the tab.

6. Use Procuring Portals

Many airways even have purchasing portals on their frequent-flyer web sites. By going to that web page first and clicking by means of to a collaborating service provider, you’ll be able to earn factors in your purchases.


The variety of miles civil engineer David Phillips earned after buying $3,150 price of pudding (12,150 cups, which he donated to the Salvation Military and native meals banks), profiting from an uncommon and ill-conceived mileage-earning promotion.

7. Fly

Sure, you’ll be able to nonetheless earn miles by flying, a reality simply neglected amongst all the opposite methods to earn them. Due to the transfer to revenue-based packages, a pricey ticket might get you extra miles than an inexpensive one, even when the latter’s route covers a higher distance. That, in fact, isn’t purpose to spring for a loopy excessive fare, particularly when you’re the one paying the invoice. The worth of miles varies from airline to airline, however determine they’re price a couple of penny apiece on common. That makes it fairly straightforward to check fares and do the maths.

The Backside Line

Frequent flyer packages are altering to reward excessive rollers, however there are nonetheless methods to earn miles with out overpaying for them.

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