High Mileage: Collecting Points for Your Next Flight
No matter what season you schedule a flight, in terms of pricing, there are always good and bad days and weeks to fly. With a bit of foresight and early planning, you can even find economical prices for flights during the holidays. In addition to purchasing your tickets early on and working with an agency that will honor price drops, keeping a healthy stock of frequent flyer miles can help you ensure the fare for your next flight is always within reason.
Counting the Miles
Whether you need last-minute tickets or you’ve been planning your dream vacation for more than a year, frequent flyer miles can always serve as the edge you need to get the flight you want at the price you want. And though you can rack up miles without an associated credit account, mile credit cards are a surefire means of establishing a large store of points quickly.
Selecting a Rewards Credit Card
A detailed observation by MileCards.com as stated that the best mile credit cards may not always offer the greatest terms in the long run, but their first-year perks may make it beneficial to hold onto them for at least a year. Welcome packages stock your rewards account with a wealth of miles, though there are generally spending requirements you must meet in order to receive the perks.
The opportunity to receive a large amount of frequent flyer miles is often the most enticing element of a new miles card, but other perks, coupled with reasonable rates, can make the card worth keeping for the long term. Additional perks may include fee waivers on checked baggage, priority boarding and access to an airline’s airport club.
If you decide to hold onto a miles credit card long-term, it’s strongly advised to stay on top of your monthly balance. Annual fees and relatively high interest rates can offset the benefits of the cards if you don’t manage them diligently. Even if you’re unsure how long you’ll hold onto the card, review all of its terms with the care and respect you would give to any other credit offer.
Learn your airline’s conversion system for frequent flyer miles, so you’ll understand how it converts to airfare. Learning the miles system will also help you discern differences between miles card offers and enable you to make a much more informed decision. For example, one offer may include a higher amount of miles but less ancillary perks.
Study the list of partners your credit card company and airline has, so you can studiously use your miles card to accrue points. Considering the relatively high interest rates miles cards can carry, it’s best to maximize the rewards you receive each time you use one.
Airline companies often double or triple the miles you receive when using your card to purchase their services. And because airlines partner with companies besides lending agencies, you can also rack up miles for related services such as ground transport and lodging. Check out your airline’s full list of partners. You may stand to accrue points or receive discounts on services ranging from restaurants and retail outlets to spas and salons.
Converting Your Miles from Points to Perks
Miles are converted as a cent or two per mile and redeeming them is almost as simple as applying a coupon to your airfare. You should try to tactfully use your miles to maximize the benefits you’ll receive from them. But understand that it’s extremely difficult to apply your miles without overusing them or underutilizing them on your fare. For example, miles are traditionally redeemed in large increments or applied to tiers of fares. Airlines may require you to spend your miles in increments of 5,000 or 10,000. So if your miles are converted to roughly $.02 per mile, that’s approximately $100 or $200 you’d have to exact to cover your desired fare.
Using Your Perks for Accommodations
If you’ve done your research on desirable flights and you find an economical flight would consume too many of your miles, you could seek other ways to offset the cost of your trip. Many airlines will allow you to use your miles on lodging, car rentals and dining services with their partner companies. Before rushing to spend your miles on airfare, compare the savings you could enjoy on airfare with the discounts you could apply on other areas of your trip.
The Road Starts Here
Amassing frequent flyer miles is a prudent step in ensuring your airfare is always available at a competitive price. Saving a large store of miles can even equate to free airfare. Careful planning and stewardship with your miles credit card will enable you to fly more frequently, whether on a whim or