Even if you know the basics – what miles are, where to get them, when you should buy them – actually being able to understand the airline mile system well enough to regularly benefit from it can be a real challenge. We receive dozens of emails every month from readers asking questions – I have so and so number of miles and this deal looks okay, but is it? Am I right? Should I take it? Well, rest assured. The Mileage Club is here, and we’re going to guide you through it – one step at a time.
- First, find a loyalty program that you like, and sign up. Take your time with this steps. You want to make sure that you have the loyalty program that is the best fit for you. Keep in mind things like whether or not a given airline is a transfer partner with others, etc. Also look for hotel and car-based loyalty programs.
- Find an online miles manager or account manager to help you keep track of things. Some of these are completely free tools that you can use to keep track of your airline miles or points balance, even across multiple loyalty programs or airlines. Examples include Using miles, or Tripit.
- Pick the rewards credit card that will give you the biggest sign-on bonus. This way you can jump start your collection of miles. Remember to check your credit by getting your free, annual credit report before you do this so that if you find a credit card deal that matches your spending needs and rewards expectations, you are eligible to apply for it. Some of our favorites include the Barclay Card Arrival, or the American Express Premier Awards Gold.
- Start using your credit card for all of your expenses, AND pay it off every month. If you don’t do this, the interest incurred will cancel out your miles. So stop carrying cash, and start swiping that plastic and racking up frequent flyer miles.
- Link your credit card to dining programs. This way, you’ll get airline miles every time you visit your favorite restaurants and pay using your credit card. We can always do with more free miles right? Also, start shopping online. Many major retailers can be accessed through online portals specifically designed for airline miles-based credit cards.
- Now that you’ve done all this, this step is about understanding how to take your mileage strategy to the next level. A big part of this is reaching elite level status in your loyalty program. This of course takes time and continuous dedication to stick to using your credit card for all expenses, shopping online, etc. Once you become an elite customer, you’ll get numerous perks – better customer service, bonus points, etc. Remember to familiarize yourself with the exact terms and conditions of your loyalty program – find the tips and tricks associated with each.
AND YOU’RE DONE! Happy miles-hunting!
This is a guest post from The Mileage Club.