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Frequent Flyer Miles

If you fly and don't get anything in the way of frequent flyer miles - you're getting ripped off! In most cases, it's free to get reward miles.

So many programs...so little space to discuss them all.  Frequent flyer miles and the products of airline reward systems can make air travel much more enjoyable if you just take a little time to get to know the ins and outs.

Getting Started

Whether you fly on a regular basis or infrequently - you should be enrolled in a frequent flyer miles reward program.  You don't need to be a frequent flyer to join or earn miles.  First, you need to decide which program to join (maybe even choose two).  Things to consider when choosing which program: which major carrier flies out of your local or nearest airport, if you're near a major airport where there are many airlines - which do you prefer, also take into consideration some comments from others on the web about which programs are easy to use and those which are not user friendly.  Also, take into consideration which airline services the areas where you want to fly the most.  If you fly a lot to the islands in the Caribbean, you might want to consider American Airlines.  If you fly a lot to a particular city - you might want to check if that area is a major hub of a certain carrier - flights might be more regular, cost less, or use less reward miles.  

Ways to Earn Miles or Points

The easiest way to earn miles or points is to use a travel rewards credit card.  The first year fee is usually waived (and sometimes free for life - at least if you barter well...), almost everyone uses a credit card anyway, and when you get a new credit card there is usually a promotion and the airline usually includes a number of points or reward miles for "free".  Another quick way to earn miles is to FLY! The miles add up quick.  Some companies give more miles if you have more "segments".  Make sure you give the ticketing agent your rewards program ID number to get proper credit.

Choosing the best reward credit card can be tough.  If you are looking for one rewards program in particular you might not have many choices.  Such as the Delta Skymiles program - the credit cards are all American Express.  APR should be considered, but if you pay your credit card statement each month you don't need to worry about this as much.   Look for : interest rate, annual fee, intro interest rate, intro rate length, rewards program (points or miles), if reward points - can you use at any airline, mileage exchange dollar/mile or sometimes 2 miles/dollar spent. 

Other ways to earn miles include: Buying from establishments that have a partnership with the rewards program.  This includes everything from hotels, car rentals, florists, business supply stores, long distance, cell phone, mortgage/finance, etc!

Switching Reward Programs

It may happen that you need to switch from one reward program to another.  This isn't that big of an ordeal as you'd think.  Some airlines may give you a mileage credit to earn your business, but it isn't common.  It is easiest to sign up and get started on earning miles at a new program.  Then you just need to figure out ways to spend the miles you've earned on the old program.  This could include free airplane tickets, hotel rooms (if they have a partner and exchange agreement), car rentals, and there are sites on the web to visit that can trade your miles for goods.

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