One of the few perks business travellers have for being on the road all the time, is that they manage to rack up quite a few miles allowing them to take a family break to an exotic destination for a much more reduced rate than normal.
So, it comes as no surprise then that corporate travellers were less than impressed – not to say outraged – this year when airlines announced significant ‘revamps’ of their frequent flyer programmes. Delta, United and SAA for example all moved to a ‘revenue’ based loyalty programme, that means travellers earn more miles when they spend more with the airline and not necessarily when they fly longer distances.
Although the reasoning behind this move might make sense for the airlines, for most ‘loyal’ clients the change means it has become harder to earn miles. At the same time, most airlines also moved to ‘dynamic pricing’ for reward trips, meaning the number of miles required for a ticket will vary and travellers usually will need to spend more miles to get free trips or upgrades.
With this in mind, here are some of the ways in which you can optimise your frequent flyer programme:
Use your credit card to boost your miles
Using your credit card is an easy way to boost your miles. Most business travellers will easily meet the spending thresholds required to earn miles, especially considering the money they spend on business flights and hotels.
Be loyal to an alliance
You don’t need to be loyal to one airline per se, but it helps to be loyal to one airline alliance and try to maximise the number of flights you book with airlines under that specific alliance.
Look out for double miles
Airlines will often award double miles to their most loyal members, so it’s a good idea to keep your eyes open for ‘double mile’ specials. Also major hotel chains tend to have links with airline frequent flyer programmes and from time to time run promotions whereby travellers can earn double or triple miles.
Don’t spend recklessly
Be careful to spend your miles smartly. With the dynamic pricing model airlines have introduced for miles, this can get tricky, as the value of each mile is somewhat fluid. Generally speaking, swapping points for upgrades or free flights offers the highest value per point.
Don’t let miles expire
This might sound straightforward, but each programme has its own policy when it comes to validity periods, so keep your eyes open.
Does this all sounds complicated? Don’t worry, your Thompsons Travel agent will know exactly what to do. He or she will analyse your travel habits, evaluate how you currently travel and how you would like to travel. On the basis of the perks you value, they will choose the programme that offers you the best solution to achieve your objectives.