There are more reasons than ever to join airline frequent flier programs, as Tim Winship of FrequentFlier.com writes for SmarterTravel.com.
He points out that one-way travel awards, pay-with-miles programs and other initiatives are making programs more flexible. (He also reports a trend toward dollar-based instead of mileage-based rewards, not a great development for cheapskates like me. But that’s another issue.)
The bottom line, in my view, is that you should earn miles every time you fly. If you are flying on an airline you haven’t flown on before, join that airline’s program unless you can credit the miles toward a partner airline (this is possible within airline alliances).
It’s free to join these programs and you can usually do it easily online when you buy your ticket.
You really don’t have anything to lose. Concerned about privacy? Don’t bother worrying about that. By the time you’ve bought the ticket, the airline already knows everything that’s worth knowing about you. And by the time you get through security and onto the plane, the TSA may have scanned your love handles.