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Guide to Becoming a Frequent Flyer

No matter how frequently you fly, you’ve probably thought about joining a frequent flyer program so you can earn miles when you travel. Major airlines offer free-to-join loyalty programs to encourage you to fly with their airlines. You can accumulate points to redeem for free flights or other rewards, such as upgrades and elite status. Even if you’re only flying during the holidays or once or twice a year, signing up for a loyalty program can help you save on travel costs. Here are some reasons why you should consider becoming a frequent flyer.

How Do Frequent Flyer Programs Work?

When you sign up to be a frequent flyer, you become a part of a loyalty program with the airline. Once you become a member, how you get frequent flyer miles depends on how often you book a ticket or make purchases with the airline. Today’s frequent flyer programs offer benefits beyond free air travel; you can even earn miles without travelling when you sign up for the airline’s credit card.

How Do I Become a Frequent Flyer?

Each airline has its own frequent flyer program, so which one is right for you? It really depends on how much you fly and which airline you regularly use. Here’s how to get started and make the most of your loyalty membership:

1. Enroll in the Frequent Flyer Program

You can easily sign up for a frequent flyer program before you book your next flight. Just go to the airline’s website and look for the link to the frequent flyer sign-up page (this generally pops up when you try to book too). From there, you can quickly fill out a form with your personal information, including your flight preferences. You’ll be given a unique membership number and sent an email confirmation. So what is this frequent flyer number used for? Just enter this number the next time you book your flight online to start earning your miles and rewards.

2. Sign Up for the Airline’s Credit Card

Applying for a credit card with the airline is a great way to quickly accumulate miles. These cards can offer a big sign-up bonus, allowing you to earn a lot of bonus points when you spend a certain amount after opening your account. You’ll also earn miles every time you use your card. Many airlines even offer double or triple points when you purchase a ticket using your card.

3. Travel Often and Upgrade When Possible

The more you travel, the more your miles will add up. If you can upgrade, this will add to your points too. Miles are actually not based on actual mileage; it’s how much money you spend with the airlines, so upgrades are another good way to rack up the miles. In turn, you can use points in the future for additional upgrades, free flights, and other perks when you need them.

Which Frequent Flyer Program Is Right for You?

If you fly often and use the same airline, you’ll really see the advantage of becoming a frequent flyer. But deciding on a loyalty program can be confusing, especially if you don’t travel a lot or fly with different airlines. Before signing up, ask yourself these questions about what you can get out of a loyalty program:

How Flexible Are You When Travelling?

If you’re flexible with travel dates, you can benefit from joining a rewards program. From upgrades to availability, you can make the most of your miles when you are able to book at off-peak travel times. You can take advantage of free tickets and upgrades that may not otherwise be available during busier times.

What Type of Traveller are You?

Factor in if you’re travelling for business or leisure before you sign up. If you are a business traveler who flies multiple times in a month, look for a program that can give you perks, like hotel upgrades and priority boarding, which come with elite status. If you’re a leisure traveler, look for a frequent flyer program that can offer you more free flights. You’ll want a program where flying internationally or domestically a few times a year can help earn you a free flight (or significant points toward this goal).

Would You Benefit More from a Credit Card or Rewards Program?

If you don’t want to fly a certain airline or use their credit card to earn miles, consider signing up for a separate credit card rewards program that you can use with different airlines. Some flight rewards are transferable, so you can give them away when you need to, like when your kids are flying home from college. Airlines typically don’t allow these transfers, so it may be more useful to have this built-in flexibility when you fly.

Where Are You Flying To and From?

Before selecting a frequent flyer program, check to see if the airline has a hub at your airport and makes frequent flights to the places that you visit most often. It may not make sense to join a loyalty program if you can’t take advantage of the miles, either by joining the program or signing up for their credit card. You’ll get more value from booking with an airline that offers the best deals at the time.

How Often Are You Travelling?

It can’t hurt to join a free frequent flyer program, especially if you fly often or use the same airline once in a while. But if you rarely travel, a rewards program may not provide much benefit if you are not interested in perks or earning miles. The more practical approach may be to sign up for a credit card rewards program or just look for the best flight discounts when you need to fly.

Reach Out to TravelRefund

Joining a frequent flyer program really depends on what you are looking for in a program and how much value they can offer you when you fly. Once you find one that works for you, you’ll no doubt start racking up the points. Did you know that joining a frequent flyer program and earning elite status can actually help you from getting bumped from an overbooked flight? Rewards are great until something happens to your flight.

If your flight was disrupted by a flight delay, cancellation, or you’ve been denied boarding, you could be entitled to compensation under EU 261 passenger rights. TravelRefund can help you fight for your flight delay compensation.

Interested in learning more about your options if your flight was overbooked or delayed? Simply file your compensation claim today, and we’ll review the case for free to assess if you’re entitled to compensation.