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12 Ways to Get More Frequent Flyer Miles
12 Tips on How to Get More Frequent Flyer Miles

by Debbie Christofferson,

get more frequent flyer miles!Airplane flights earn reward miles for travelers, but you can also gain valuable frequent flyer miles without ever leaving the ground. You can take advantage of almost unlimited potential to earn more frequent flyer miles. Create your own vacation opportunities while also saving money:

1. Apply for frequent flyer accounts with any airline you fly on, plan to fly on, or whose destinations appeal to you. Visit online web sites to see which airlines offer the most attractive rewards, and the best terms. Mile redemption requirements vary by airline. Don't assume a mile is a mile - it's not. Manage as few or as many as you like, but try to group miles and card choices around destinations you most prefer. Airline choices vary greatly and their mileage partners will be listed on their web sites, along with current earning opportunities. Offers and partners are diverse and change continuously. Delta Skymiles American Express offers a 10,000 mile bonus for meeting a $25,000 annual spending limit, plus a free companion ticket. Amex also offers its own point program for vacation packages. Many cards offer sign-up bonuses. Some airlines grant bonus miles or free upgrades, once you reach a specific annual mileage balance.

2. Obtain a credit card that offer miles. If you carry only one, make it the one that offers the destinations most attractive to you. Most cards carry annual fees and you won't get bargain interest rates. But if you manage your credit and balances, this won't be an issue, and it will pay off. Down payments on new cars, federal and state taxes, furniture, utility bills, groceries, and a multitude of other payments and purchases can be paid. You'll be surprised at how much these add up.

3. Finance your home using a lender that partners with a frequent flyer program. Refinancing is another option to earn mileage. Reward miles often add up to enough for a single round-trip domestic ticket. Typical offers return 1000 miles for every $10,000 financed.

4. Buy or sell your home using a broker through airline frequent flyer programs. Several offer them, and the mile awards are significant.

5. Always use a frequent flyer number when you purchase any airline ticket. Present it at check-in to be sure it's recorded for every flight. Mail it in after-the-fact if you forgot it, or didn't take advantage of a program partner.

6. Hotels offer miles for their own programs in major chains, and many allow you to claim credit with your favorite airline instead. Choose your hotels accordingly when it makes sense. Hotels big and small, economy and luxury are all offered, but mostly within the big chains.

7. Car rentals offer miles either a one-time amount, or by the day. Check with any car rental agency before you rent, and be sure to present the card number when you make the reservation, and when you check-in. If you pay separately, present it at payment time to be sure the mileage program is noted. Airline sites will show their partners to see if they award miles for any program. Keep a recorded list of your frequent flyer program numbers with you, in case you forget the card. Most airlines, hotels, or rental agencies will accept a verbal number.

8. Hotels offer their own promotional programs in major chains, for points collected toward free nights and vacations. Many allow you to claim credit with your favorite airline instead. Choose your hotels accordingly when it makes sense. If you don't know if the hotel offers miles, visit the web site, or ask them.

9. Follow-up on mileage awards to make sure you receive them. Save copies of documentation to prove your claim if you have to request credit. Boarding passes, hotel receipts, and cruise itineraries are examples. Put your frequent flyer program in writing to a mortgage lender or real estate agent when contracting on a mileage referral. If it is not part of the application, include a memo stating the referral and frequent flyer account number with the application or contract submission, and write it on the form. Keep a copy and record good notes regarding discrepancies and your follow-up.

10. Watch for special promotions in the mail or in your statements and take advantage of them. Examples include double miles for credit card purchases for a specific timeline or establishments, or in combination for a flight and automobile rental. Long distance telephone or cellular service providers award miles for some markets. Cruise lines and chain destination resorts are other examples. Airlines flying international routes will offer mileage bonuses for specific destinations, class of service. Plan carefully to get the most mileage. Some airlines honor only specific parts of a flight and not every segment. Only the fine print will spell out the restrictions and details.

11. Read your statements and know exactly what your frequent flyer program offers, and watch for changes and special promotions. Without monthly activity, you must check the online web site in person for most programs. Sign-up for online mileage statements to help you remember.

12. Sign-up for one of the programs that help you manage your miles. Time spent up front to provide the details on your accounts will be worth the time and trouble for the small fee. Sharing the duty with an employee or home partner who is better at details, or who has more time, is another option.

For the business traveler, finding time or coordinating schedules and destinations can be difficult when you want to mix business with pleasure, friends, and family. Vacations are important though, for rejuvenation, and to build and maintain relationships. Besides benefiting directly from miles, they can also bring family and friends to you-at home, or along on trips. Mileage makes it easier to take time for you, your family and friends. Even if you aren't able to use them today, frequent flyer miles come in handy at different periods of life and times, sometimes unexpectedly.

Examples of my rewards, which you too could enjoy, from banked miles: My husband and I married in Jamaica via first class no-cost air transportation. We traveled to Australia in business class for a 3-week vacation. A Budapest, Hungary visit became reality when I replaced high-priced fares with accumulated frequent flyer miles. My sister & I skied in Colorado with free airfare. A Richmond, Virginia land investment visit netted an airline ticket at no charge by redeeming miles. To San Francisco, I spent miles for a ticket where I spoke at a trade conference. My brother's family vacationed with us over Easter on my earned miles. A friend visited his Vermont hometown with friends he wouldn't have seen otherwise, with my miles paying the airfare. My Grandmother spent a month in Ohio compliments of my "paid for" air miles.

Your opportunities are endless. Start today to earn all the miles and vacation you can get!