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Up, Up, And Away! How to Earn, Boost, and Redeem Airline Miles

Everyone wants to find a cheaper way to fly, and air miles provide you with one of the best ways to do just that. But there is often confusion about air miles. How exactly can you earn them and get more out of them? Here’s a guide to everything you need to know so you can fly more for less.

Top Ways to Earn Air Miles

There are many ways to earn air miles, some of which are better than others, and here are some of the best that you may want to consider.

get the best deal on an airbnbBecome a Member

The best way to earn air miles is to become a member of an airline. If you fly with them frequently, then you get more air miles each time you fly, and these will add up over time. Lots of airlines have these, so always check the frequent flyer scheme of each airline you fly with to find out how you can go about earning points and miles that you can put towards your flights.

Use a Credit Card

Perhaps the most convenient way to earn more miles is to use a credit card that rewards you with miles each time you spend. There are many credit cards that come with such schemes, and each time you buy something, you know you’ll be earning.

Look around to find the best credit cards that award air miles where you live, and you may find that some provide you with a bonus amount of air miles as soon as you open your account. Some even allow you to pay an annual fee to get an air miles boost.

Online Surveys

If you’ve got some time to kill, you might want to answer some online surveys. You won’t get many miles for this, but it’s certainly a free and easy way to earn a few miles to top up your account.

Service Offers

You should also get into the habit of looking online for services that offer air miles in return when you sign up to them. It could be anything, such as satellite television from DirectTV, or even paying your bills in certain states. Search online and always be on the lookout for great deals.

Eat Out at Certain Locations

Even eating out can reward you with miles. Some restaurants are linked to schemes where you earn air miles when you eat at them using your registered credit cards.

Buy Them

And you can always buy more as well. If you want to use your air miles but you don’t have enough, but some more to top up your trip. Just make sure you work out whether it is worth it before you go ahead.

Check out this resource if you’re looking for some ideas for how to use American Express points, including different routes you can fly.

Use the Best Frequent Flyer Programs

If you want to make the most of your air miles, you should be on the lookout for the best frequent flyer programs.

In a Forbes article looking at the best for 2016, the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan came top of the list. It has a traditional scheme that awards miles relating to the distance that you travel, and it is one of the only ones to do this now.

Others tend to use the cost of the ticket in their formulas for calculating air miles rewarded. So, the amount of miles you earn is based on the amount you spend rather than the distance you fly, and this tends to lead to fewer miles.

However, others that came high up on the list were the JetBlue TrueBlue program in second place, and the Southwest Rapid Rewards program in third place, so they are worth looking into.

Get More from Your Miles with Alliances

Another way to get more from your miles is to take advantage of airline alliances. This is where you can use your air miles on other airlines, not just the one you earned them on.

There are a handful of major alliances like Oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance. Star Alliance alone includes 27 airlines from all over the world, including United Airlines, Lufthansa, and Turkish Airlines.

Oneworld is another of the biggest, and it includes American Airlines, British Airways, Qatar Airways, and Qantas among others. And SkyTeam includes Delta, Air France, and KLM.

But there are other partnerships all over the world, and you can often use air miles you have earned in the United States to fly in other countries.

Always research these alliances and use them to your advantage. You may only fly with a particular airline once every few years, but when you consider their alliance, you can earn more air miles and use them in more places around the world.

Get More Air Miles & Fly Further for Less

This should provide you with a good overview of earning air miles and making the most out of them once you have them. Air miles remain one of the most effective ways to get the most out of flying, and they can help you to fly a lot further for less. So start collecting them now, and enjoy your flying even more wherever you go.

Aimee Archer has been travel hacking her way around the world since 2012. She’s a frugal lady who makes her money go the miles, quite literally!



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

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