How to Use Airline Miles

Accruing airline miles is a dangling carrot to get you to fly a particular airline, use one credit card over another or even shop at certain stores. Knowing how to accumulate points and what they can be spent on is key to getting the most out of your miles.

Airline Miles

Each airline has its own rules regarding how it uses airline miles. Some have blackout dates when you cannot use miles to purchase a ticket, some have a certain time period when miles expire, and each airline gives a different monetary value to airline miles. Because they all follow their own set of rules, it behooves you to sign up for the loyalty programs for the airlines that you fly. Hotels usually have loyalty programs, too, where you can earn airlines miles. Signing up is easy and usually free. Check the websites of your most used airlines, hotels and rental car agencies for information regarding their loyalty programs.

Track Your Miles

Since you’ll be accruing points from potentially many different entities, it can be difficult to keep track of how many airline points you have. Thankfully, there are online point managers that you can use to stay on top of your account balances. Search for sites that allow you to create an account that manages all of your loyalty programs in one convenient spot.

Credit Cards

Most Americans own at least one credit card, at least 75 percent according to Boston Federal Reserve. Why not use one that has extras and benefits for the user? This will entail a little research on your behalf, but the results might be well worth the time you spend. Some offer big sign-up bonuses for new customers. Others run special deals where you can earn, say, double miles when you use your card to make purchases at specific stores. If you pay the card off in full each month so that you avoid getting hit with an interest payment, using a credit card to get airline miles is a great option.

Buy Airline Miles Online

There may come a time when you’re looking to upgrade your ticket but are a few airline miles short of being able to do so. You can purchase airline miles online from your airline’s website. There may be limits to the number of miles you can purchase, and be sure that buying the miles is actually a cost-effective proposition.

Redeeming Airline Points

Now that you’ve signed up for loyalty programs and kept track of all your airline points, how do you go about redeeming them? Have a goal in mind and go for it. Would you like to fly in an amazing airline suite to a fabulous location? Maybe you want to fly your whole family to the coast for vacation? Whatever you have in mind, be aware of your airline’s rules as they pertain to using airline miles. Don’t let them expire while you’re busy trying to gather up more.