Frequent Flyer Points: What You Need to Know

Anyone who flies even once in a while is probably aware of frequent flyer programs that offer travelers the ability to earn points redeemable for free travel. Become an expert in frequent flyer points so you can utilize this incentive to earn free air travel miles.

Airline Frequent Flyer Miles

Airlines have set up their own proprietary frequent flyer programs as an incentive and reward for customers who fly with them. Every flight purchased can earn you points, which reside in an account. Once you have earned enough points, you can redeem them for free travel with that airline. Most airlines don’t allow points to expire, but they do require customers to have a minimum amount of activity with booked flights in a specific time period.

Choosing an Airline for Frequent Flyer Points & Rewards

Joining a frequent flyer program with an airline is an important decision because this will be the airline you’ll be using for your flights. Before proceeding, make sure you are happy with the service and coverage of this airline. Examine the frequent flyer program to learn how points accrue and how you can redeem them for free miles. Some programs also enable members to earn points for nonflight activities such as hotels and car rentals. Read the small print too, so you know about how the miles accrue, blackout dates, limited seating for free travel, fees and what happens if flights are canceled.

Frequent Flyer Mile Cards

Airlines are utilizing frequent flyer programs as a loyalty program, not unlike the way supermarkets and other retailers use loyalty programs. When you join an airline’s frequent flyer program, you may get a card that you can use for other perks. For example, you may show your card at the check-in counter to get a free checked bag. Showing your card might also get you access to special lounges at the airport or free upgrades to first-class seating on a flight.

Credit Card Frequent Flyer Rewards

Some credit card companies also offer customers the ability to earn points that can be used toward free travel miles. The points are usually only earned with purchases in specified categories or for minimum dollar values. Credit card companies usually partner with a specific airline, so your points will go for travel only with that airline. However, some companies also offer generic credit card miles that you can use with any provider.

Caveats of Frequent Flyer Programs

Airlines offer frequent flyer programs as a way of retaining their best customers. It’s important to note that airlines do have stringent rules, and customers who break them may be released from a program. Frequent and frivolous complaints may be cause for an airline removing a customer from a program. Cheating is another reason for removal, so make sure you follow all rules carefully and honestly.