Seasoned travelers are experts on travel miles, juggling points with ease and saving a ton of money along the way. These so-called miles can leave you with a fuller bank account and more cash to spend on traveling!
If you’re a newbie at the miles game, though, it can be a challenge to figure out the rules and start reaping the rewards. Your head is probably bubbling with questions like “How do airline miles work?” or “How to use airline miles?” or even the most basic “What are airline miles?” But don’t worry! It’s not impossible to learn how to hack your way to free flights and business class tickets. With a good grasp of the basics and careful planning, you can find yourself accumulating those travel miles like a pro!
First, What Are Travel Miles And How Do They Work?
Travel miles, also known as frequent flyer miles, airline miles, or travel points, are basically a type of currency handed out by credit cards and airlines as part of a rewards program. To put it simply, you earn miles when you spend a certain amount on your credit card or airline. These miles can be used on flights, whether to get discounts, upgrades, or even free flights!
Nearly all airlines have some type of loyalty program and it’s usually free, letting you gain points with every flight on the airline. Meanwhile, credit cards get you points with purchases and you can go on to redeem the points for miles. Some even award bonus miles. It’s usually easier and faster to collect miles on credit cards, but keep in mind that credit cards also often require fees to maintain.
Sounds pretty straightforward, right? The basics are pretty simple, although the best ones at it are crafty in making the most of the rewards system. Here are some of the ways you can start earning travel miles, too.
Get The Right Rewards Card
If you have a favorite destination, it’s essential to get a card from an airline that flies there. Since you travel there frequently, you’ll be able to acquire a lot of points just by carrying on as usual. Most airline loyalty programs are free of charge, a travel essential with no costs and great rewards.
For many people, credit cards are the easiest way to earn travel miles, since there are far more chances to use a credit card than to constantly book flights. There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the right credit card for you, such as income requirements, existing accounts, and the like.
As a frequent flyer, your goal is to collect as many miles as possible, so pick a credit card that will let you maximize the points and miles with every purchase. A big sign-up bonus is also a huge draw, giving you a lot of miles as soon as you get your credit card. For example, PNB-PAL Mabuhay Miles World Mastercard in the Philippines awards 2,000 Mabuhay Miles upon card activation.
Some people take advantage of such bonuses by signing up for a credit card, getting a huge bonus, canceling their credit card subscription after a year, and signing up again for another chance at the bonus. However, it should be noted that this is a risky operation that can affect your credit score and history, so tread lightly!
Embrace Cashless Spending
If you have to spend money, make sure you’re earning points for it—no matter how small. Cash may be convenient, but a credit card gives you something back: miles!
For instance, Metrobank Travel Platinum Visa gives travelers in the Philippines 1 mile for every PHP 50 spent locally, whether it’s a travel-related expense or not. It also gives 1 mile for every PHP 17 spent in other countries on hotel, airfare, or travel. Most frequent flyer credit cards have similar deals—find one with miles you can redeem at your favorite airline.
Keep an eye out for bonus points, which some credit card companies like HSBC Visa Platinum offer for local dining or shopping.
Be careful, though. Credit card spending is extremely rewarding, but only if you are on top of your finances. Make sure you only spend what you can afford and pay off your balance every month. Otherwise, you could find yourself with sky-high interest and paying more than what your points are worth!
Travel Within One Airline Or Alliance (When Possible)
If you’re a frequent traveler, sticking to just one airline lets you concentrate all your points and miles in one place and get enough for a free flight much more quickly. It also gives travelers a better chance of achieving elite status.
Of course, it isn’t always possible to fly within a single airline. The next best thing is to book flights within an alliance, which is a group of different airlines that usually lets travelers use points among all the partners.
There are three major global alliances: Star Alliance, One World, and Sky Team. In the Philippines, Cebu Pacific is a founding member of the low-cost Value Alliance, while Philippine Airlines is believed to be in the process of joining one of the three major alliances.
Make sure you travel with confidence and stay connected with your own SIM card or Wi-Fi device wherever you may be going. Don’t forget to check if your credit card provider is offering discounts with KKday!
*Featured image via Rawpixel.com on Shutterstock