Air miles: How to choose the best program in 2021
If you ever wonder how your friends can travel for less or how to get so many discounts on plane tickets and other products and services, you’ve come to the right place. Today we are going to unveil the universe of air miles.
The frequent flyer program is in fact a super efficient way to get airline tickets for little or nothing. And in some cases, it is still possible to benefit from other types of services. Next, we’ll show you how to choose the best program for earning air miles.
First, the most important
- There are several ways to earn airline miles, either through airline programs or by making purchases with your credit card.
- But if you want to take maximum advantage, it is worth analyzing which is the best loyalty program before joining.
- Each air miles program has features that can make a difference in your day to day.
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Best air miles: The ideal program for every occasion
- The program with the largest international flight options
- Ideal for those who want versatility
- The best option for those traveling
Registration Guide: Everything you need to know about airline miles
Earn airline miles and exchange for airline tickets. It’s what everyone wants, right? But do you know how it happens, what are the counterparts and what is behind this process?
For you who still have doubts about the universe of air miles, we created this Buying Guide. From here you will find the main information about this type of program.
Air miles: What are they and how do they work?
Air miles are points that you earn each time you travel with an airline. It works like this: Each airline has loyalty programs, in which the participant accumulates miles (points or credits) each time he / she travels on a company flight.
To do so, you just need to join the program and always enter your registration number when checking in.
And what is behind this benefit? It’s simple. Companies have this type of program to maintain their loyalty to it. That is, offering airline miles is an airline strategy to keep you shopping and using its services, not the competition.
No wonder, nowadays all airlines have programs for accruing air miles. And the good thing is that you don’t have to strive to have these benefits. The secret is to know how and where to search, and to organize.
How do I earn air miles?
With the popularization of this type of program, nowadays there are other ways to accumulate air miles than just buying a ticket and flying.
For you to understand how simple and easy this process is, we have put together a list that shows the main ways to earn air miles. Look:
- Flying: When you are registered in the airline loyalty program, the more you travel with the company, the more miles you will accumulate. But the amount of points purchased varies according to the fare of the ticket.
- Partner networks: Many companies have created advantage clubs that, with each purchase, offer points. These points can also be redeemed for airline tickets from partner companies and for products in pharmacies, online stores, among others.
- Mileage club: Currently, airlines also have a mileage club. You pay a monthly fee that entitles you to a certain amount of points or miles each month.
- Credit card: One of the easiest ways to earn air miles is by using your credit card. The points accumulated with each purchase can then be transferred to the airline loyalty program account of your choice.
What to do with air miles?
People often accumulate many airline miles, but they don’t know what to do with them. The result is that these miles expire, and the benefits and advantages are not taken advantage of.
And although the most obvious option is to use airline miles to exchange for airline tickets, you will see below that there are many other possibilities for using these accumulated points. Look:
- Flight benefits: Depending on the number of airline miles you have, you can exchange your economy class ticket to fly on the first class of the plane. In addition, you can use the miles to access the VIP room or choose a seat with more space on the flight.
- Making more trips: As we have seen, it is possible to use air miles in exchange for an airline ticket or to pay part of the ticket, if the score is not sufficient.
- Accommodation: Yes, hotels accredited in the frequent flyer programs also accept air miles as a way of paying the daily rates.
- Parking and taxis: You can also use your air miles to pay for airport parking or even taxi rides, as long as they are part of your frequent flyer program.
- Sell: Air miles can also be sold. To do so, look for serious companies with recommendations from other users.
How to use airline miles to buy airline tickets?
This will depend on how you have accumulated the points. For example, if the points are on your credit card you will need to plan ahead, as you will need to transfer the points to the airline.
And the fact is that this transfer of miles from your bank to the airline, which can be done over the internet or by phone, can take up to a week to complete. So, get organized.
If airline miles have been accumulated in an airline’s loyalty program, simply log on to the airline’s website, search for tickets and make a “purchase” using miles.
If your airline miles balance is not sufficient, most programs allow you to pay a portion of the amount in cash.
Did you know that it is possible to redeem air miles from old flights?
If you have traveled by plane, but have forgotten to credit your miles, you can ask for the ransom.
But be aware that the deadline for making this order varies according to the company. In general, you can request retroactive air miles between 5 and 6 months after the flight.
Is it possible to transfer airline miles from one program to another?
Unfortunately not. It is not yet possible to transfer your airline miles from one mileage program to another.
On the other hand, if you earn air miles on a specific airline, you can issue tickets from other companies that have an agreement with it. To do so, just use the telephone service or the website of your frequent flyer program.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of air miles?
It is undeniable that air miles are advantageous. After all, you don’t need to change your routine at all to accumulate these points and then enjoy the benefits.
You have the possibility to earn air miles effortlessly.
The fact is, whether you buy products using your credit card or buy airline tickets, you have the possibility to earn air miles effortlessly. When you accumulate the required quantity, just exchange them, either for other tickets, or for service, advantages and products.
But still, there are disadvantages when it comes to air miles. One is that there may be changes to the program rules, which can change the way you earn miles and exchange them for tickets and products.
In addition, it must be remembered that the air miles exchanged only cover the value of the air ticket, with the remaining payment of taxes and fees. The following are the main advantages and disadvantages of airline miles:
How to enroll in the airline miles program?
To enroll in the frequent flyer program, simply register on the airline website of your choice.
In most cases, a user number is generated at the end of the record. With this number, you can track the accumulation of air miles and also use it in exchange for tickets.
Remember that you must present your user number every time you book a flight and when checking in, so that air miles are computed by the system.
What about the credit card? Well, in that case, you need to check with your bank if your card qualifies for points accumulation. Some already convert purchases directly into points.
Registration Criteria: What to analyze when choosing the airline miles program
Now that you have a general idea of how air miles work, it’s time to choose the best mileage program. For this, it is important that you know what differentiates one program from another.
To assist you in this process, we have listed below the main factors that you should analyze:
- Miles value
- Shelf life
- International trip
- Redemption options
Next, we’ll explain each of these topics.
Each air miles accumulation program gives different values to the accumulated points.
In general, the amount of air miles accumulated on each flight varies according to several factors, such as distance flown, fare value and cabin class.
Also, please note that each card may require a minimum of points for conversion to airline miles. Some banks require a minimum of, for example, 15,000 points so that you can convert into airline miles.
And, although the value of air miles varies from one program to others, in general, the accumulation of 10,000 points guarantees a ticket in national territory. In South America, for example, about 40 thousand air miles are needed to guarantee one or more segments.
As we have seen, air miles can expire. Therefore, before registering for a mileage program, check the validity of these points.
Although each company sets its own deadline, air miles usually expire after one year. In the case of points generated by credit cards, the validity can be from 1 to 4 years.
Also note if the frequent flyer program covers the routes you need to take most.
For example, if you travel a lot abroad, ideally, the company should allow you to use airline miles to exchange for international flights. Stay tuned, as some companies only focus on domestic flights.
Another factor you should consider is the mileage program partner network.
Opt for the airline miles program that has partnerships with companies with which you have some affinity and consumption relationship, whether they are other airlines, online stores, pharmacy chain, gas stations and etc.
You should consider programs that offer the best options for redeeming airline tickets or products and services that interest you. To answer this question, you can research the cost of redeeming airline miles on the loyalty programs website.
Air miles are points you earn when traveling by plane or when purchasing with a credit card, for example.
Accumulated miles can be exchanged for airline tickets, benefits during flights and for other products and services that are linked to the mileage program.
Most airlines offer frequent flyer programs. But, to choose the best one, you must analyze which one offers more advantages according to your lifestyle, in addition to the value of miles and their validity.