Sunday, March 3, 2013

Earning and Using Frequent Flyer Miles - Part 1

Since I started my blog I have rarely talked about miles even though I have been learning more and more about them.  I don't talk about it because I don't consider myself terribly knowledgeable on the subject.  Despite this, I have been reading a lot about them for the past year and I have learned some basic things that can be very helpful so I hope to have a series of posts about earning and collecting frequent flyer miles.

I am personally not a huge fan of miles.  I believe that cash is king for a number of reasons.  The most important is that I can get better value with cash and use the cash to buy airline tickets or anything else and if I have miles I can only use the miles for specific items like hotels and airlines.  Also, there are no blackout dates when you pay with cash.

That being said, I understand the feeling of "getting a vacation for free" when you book it with miles.  Also, there are times where you can get even greater value by using miles than by using cash, especially in business/first class and last minute tickets.

Earning and Using Frequent Flyer Miles - Part 1 - The Basics

Earning and using frequent flyer miles needs a litte preparation.  Here are a few items that are important to think about before you get into the game.

  • Know where you plan on going most frequently.  For myself, this means Israel as I plan to move there and I am sure I will have to come back and forth a lot for occasions and to see family, but it can be whatever destination you want

  • Find out which airlines fly there and how many miles it costs to get there. is a great website to help you figure this all out.  Just put in your staring airport and destination and they will tell you all the airlines that fly there.

  • Figure out the best way to earn miles for your airline of choice.  For instance, if you think that United miles are the best way to get to where you are going, getting certain Chase credit cards are very important, even more important than the United credit card.  If you think that British Airways miles is what you want then a card that earn Avios miles (British Airways currency) is the way to go.

Hopefully over the next few months, I will add a lot more information, starting from the most basic and slightly more advanced as we go.

Check out Part 2 which discusses which websites will help you find in more information

Also, check out Part 3, which discusses the various Airline alliances

In Part 4, I discuss finding frequent flyer flights