Many frequent flyers say that flying is no longer the best way to earn points and miles, but the most rewarding way is to sign up for the right credit card. Frequent flyer programs do not make much change in the Wall Street; many users do not understand the financial importance of these programs and just look for selling frequent flyer miles or earning a free flight.
Profits of airlines are subject to many variables like fuel price, actions of the competitors, or even weather. Among all these uncertainties and variables, airlines find reliable revenue by selling miles to the banks, and these banks make use of these miles to tempt customers to sign up for their credit cards.
“The bottom line is that the business of selling miles is a very profitable one and has proven historically to be far less cyclical than the core airline,” said Joseph DeNardi, a Stifel analyst. The downside for the users, though, is that there are numerous frequent flyer programs out there, due to which, each point or mile is becoming less valuable day by day.
“It is harder to use miles at the price that people are expecting to pay,” says Gary Leff, who is an expert of frequent flyer miles. However, this does not mean that travelers should not sign up for the frequent flyer programs. Instead, they will need to rethink on ways to earn, keep, and redeem or sell miles.
Experts say that most of these strategies are dependent on the credit cards. Some of the tips for frequent flyers to get the most out of their programs are discussed below.
- Closely watch the different credit card programs for bonuses. Banks usually offer great bonuses on credit cards. For instance, last year, JPMorgan Chase offered a 100,000-mile bonus for their Sapphire Reserve card sign up.
- Even if you use some other card to make purchases, do airline purchases with the card of the airline, as it can help you bag benefits like free bag check in and priority boarding.
- You can stretch the miles by redeeming them to fly midweek. Miles expert Brian Karimzad says that it will take an average of 574 miles to book a Tuesday flight, but a Sunday flight will cost 41,332 miles.
- Do not allow the miles to expire. On American Airlines that runs the biggest frequent flyer program of the country, you do not have to fly to redeem miles; you just need to purchase something within eighteen months from partners of the program, which ranges from restaurants to other airlines.