Fly For Free: 13 Frequent Flyer Mile Strategies

A Straight Talk on Debt

A Straight Talk on Debt gives you the real deal on debt, straight from our employees and personal finance experts. Learn more about debt relief plans and how to be financially fit.

Fly For Free: 13 Frequent Flyer Mile Strategies

  • Comments 1


Fly For Free: 13 Frequent Flyer Mile Strategies

For years, my long-haul flights have been largely in business class - for less than the price of economy tickets.


Here are 13 frequent flyer mile strategies to help you do the same:

Mileage Programs & Management

Know the Alliances

Frequent flyer miles are airline-specific, but you can use miles to fly with other airlines within their alliance. The main alliances are One World, Star Alliance, and Sky Team.

Focus your accumulation strategies on one airline from each alliance for maximum flexibility.

Beware of Transferring Miles

Occasionally there are deals and cross-promotions allowing you to transfer miles on a 1:1 basis, but under normal circumstances you usually lose value transferring miles between airlines.

Lots of Accounts are Okay

Keep a spreadsheet to track your various user names, membership numbers, and passwords. If you discover a deal offering 500 miles for liking their Facebook page, watching a video, or signing up for a newsletter (which you can later unsubscribe from) - do it! 500 miles might not get you on a flight, but you never know when there will be a cross-promotion rendering these points useful.  

Manage Your Miles on One Site

These services allow you to manage your programs from one place, find deals, and transfer/trade miles. Sites include, Award Wallet, and Using Miles (who is offering a free lifetime premier membership just for you if you register through this link!)


Credit Cards

Choose a reward miles credit card that gives you a hefty bonus on application, and a good ongoing accumulation program.

Some people apply for bonus promotions, then cancel the cards - repeatedly. Although this is a great way to accumulate mega miles, it might affect your credit rating so tread cautiously.

Don't forget: you can passively accumulate miles with every dollar you spend on the card.

Shop and Earn

While accumulating miles with your credit card, you can "double-dip" with retailers (online and otherwise) offering miles per dollar spent.

Fly and Earn

If you're paying cash for a flight, earn miles for it! You can sometimes attribute the miles to another airline's program within the alliance; make sure you belong to one of those membership programs before buying your ticket.

Book Wisely

If you're paying cash, don't just consider the cheapest option if it's a budget airline with no decent rewards program. Sometimes it's worth paying a little extra for an airline offering miles that can get you closer to a free flight (and offer you status perks and upgrades).

Look for Deals

Using programs like the Travel Hacking Cartel will ensure you don't miss an accumulation offer. Its creator Chris Guillebeau suggests you can earn at least enough miles for a domestic flight every year with retail and bonus promotions alone.

Don't Forget Hotel Programs

Many hotels have rewards programs. The small amounts I've accumulated (from the occasional hotel stay or online promotion) have proven useful in bonus mile challenges.

Also, you can redeem your hotel miles for hotel stays with good value-per-mile.


Don't Waste Miles on Stuff

With the exception of hotels, redeeming miles for anything other than flights is a waste. Pay attention to the ultimate value per mile, which is highest when used for flights.

Fly Business Class, Long-Haul

You'll get a much higher value-per-mile, which makes the time and effort invested in accumulating miles so much sweeter. (And business class is pretty sweet).

Remember Taxes

Even when booking a "free" flight with miles, you still pay taxes, airline fees, and fuel charges. These fees can be a few hundred dollars, varying per route and airline.


An Introduction to Flashpacking

Got the February Blahs? Ever Think of Taking a Sabbatical?

How to Find Cheap Airfare 

Nora Dunn, Lifestyle and travel guest blogger for leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Nora Dunn

Nora Dunn is The Professional Hobo: a full-time traveler and freelance writer. She is a contributing writer under the CareOne Debt Relief Services A Straight Talk on Debt and Life Balance blogs. Having sold her business and belongings to travel, she has been on the road since 2007. She travels in a financially sustainable manner, taking advantage of creative volunteering positions. As a former certified Financial Planner, she is financially responsible for her actions along the way. She believes there is a fine balance between planning for tomorrow, and living for today. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

To connect with Nora Dunn on Google + please click 

To follow Nora on Twitter click here!

Your comment has been posted.   Close
Thank you, your comment requires moderation so it may take a while to appear.   Close
Leave a Comment
  • * Please enter your name
  • * Please enter a comment
  • Share
  • With accounts at different institutions and bills with varying due dates, budgeting is difficult.

Page 1 of 1 (1 items)