Category Archives: airline miles

Sound Advice on Airline Miles

If you think of your airlines miles as currency in a bank you should realize the bank can turn on you at any moment, change the rules, devalue the “currency” and leave you hanging with no FDIC to bail you out. So says Joe Brancatelli, who knows these things, warning that airline mileage programs are about to change dramatically. And, of course, not for the better.  If you have any miles piled up, you would be well advised to read Joe’s advice.

A Grim Economy For Frequent Flier Miles

Joe Sharkey took a hard look at the state of frequent flier programs in his New York Times column Sunday, and his prognosis is grim.

There are too many frequent flier miles chasing too few seats, a classic recipe for inflation and frustration. If you can find an award seat on a flight, you may be forced to pay double miles to get it. (Sadly, Delta Air Lines, which holds most of my miles, is rated the worst among the major domestic airlines for seat availability.)

For some time now I’ve been doubting the value of credit cards that award frequent flier miles because those miles are declining in value. Nevertheless, there is every reason to accumulate miles when you fly and to use them as wisely as you can. I’ve been to Europe, Hawaii, Central America and the Caribbean on Delta miles — and I intend to keep using them as long as I can.

Most airlines let you book award tickets about 330 days in advance. If you have a big trip in mind, start looking early, keep looking and be as flexible as you can about travel dates. And good luck.

Companion Tickets: Not Always Worth The Trouble

I just flew to San Diego and back on a $99 companion ticket that my husband gets each year with his Delta American Express card. On our return, I found an offer of a “free airline companion ticket” from American Express Publishing that had arrived in the mail. 

In the first case, we saved some money — but the deal wasn’t as good as it first appeared. And in the second case, after doing some research online, I figured the ticket wasn’t worth the trouble of signing up for it.

As it turns out, these offers don’t always offer value. And when they do, it can take some work and flexibility to squeeze the value out of them.

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Southwest Offers Double Rewards Credits

Do you have a lot of places to go in the next six weeks? If you go there on Southwest Airlines you can earn a free flight.

Southwest is offering double credit for flights before May 26, which means you can get a free flight after four round-trip flights if you complete them all by that time. Business select fares earn credit at a slightly faster rate.

If you have any Southwest flights coming up before May 26, be sure to sign up for this offer. You do need to register here.