5 Airline Miles Secrets Only Frequent Flyers Know


Most frequent flyers are experts at collecting and redeeming miles for free travel. They know all the tricks for squeezing a bit more value from each point, where to find more award seats, and secrets to getting miles faster. These are the little known secrets for getting more miles and value so you can be on your way to your next free vacation. (See also: How to Get a Free Vacation through Credit Card Rewards in Less Than 9 Months)

1. You Can Earn More Miles on the Ground Than in the Air

Even for frequent travelers, most airline miles are earned on the ground, not in the air. That's because airline credit cards award miles based on how much you spend, not how far you fly. That includes nonflying purchases. Use your card to pay for all your expenses and watch your miles add up.

2. You Don't Need an Airline Credit Card

Some of the best travel rewards credit cards aren't airline branded cards, but their points can be transferred to the airline miles of your choice. This gives you more flexibility in choosing the card that offers the most points for the category you spend the most in. Choose a card that offers bonus points for dining if you frequent restaurants often. Get a card that offers high grocery rewards. This will help you earn more points faster.

3. Not All Redemption Opportunities Offer the Same Value

Frequent travelers know how to look for value when redeeming their miles. Planning ahead of time to grab the best award price and comparing different routes will get you a much higher value for your hard earned points.

4. Look for Award Flights on Partner Airlines

If you're searching for award seats on a particular airline, look up the partners that also accept that airline's miles, and search for flights through them. Sometimes award seats show up on a partner site search rather than the specific airline site you're looking to fly on. Sometimes fees are much lower for the same flight through a partner airline. (See also: The Secret to Getting the Cheapest Award Flights)

5. Look for Business and First Class International Flights

You might think that business or first class seats are out of your reach, but when it comes to miles, a seat in business class on an international flight that would normally cost two to three times the cost of a coach seat, might only be 50% more miles. Instead of using your miles for a few domestic flights, saving them for upgraded seats on an international flight would give you much more value for your points.

Do you play the airline miles game? How do you wring out the most value?

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