It seems there’s little that you can do these days without needing a frequent flier program. More and more people are flying, courtesy of flying and eating more and more of their meals on board. And even though airlines are quick to have their credit card companies discount their purchases to offset the fact that their customers are paying more and more in fees each year, once we’re on board the plane it’s quite difficult to say goodbye to our frequent flier miles. How will frequent flier programs change for their heaviest users? And how will the airlines change to meet the needs of their frequent flier passengers? Read on to find out:
Flights and The Expense Limits
When it comes to the amount of money that frequent flier programs charge their users, travel experts give somewhat of a breakdown of how much you could spend through your airline and how many miles you need to spend to earn it. One of the great things about an airline mileage program is that the more miles you earn, the more opportunities you have to fly. The biggest expense that passengers rack up while in an airline airline’s program is on traveling to their destinations. JetBlue offers free tickets valued at up to six thousand miles, according to Time. A recent survey by SFGate.com concluded that flying is more expensive than it was just a few years ago, and 25% of people were still planning to travel at least three times during the coming year.
Check your frequent flier program program directly to see how many miles you can earn to fly those exciting destinations. The New York Post suggests that you can fly to New York City for just over 500 miles and score an airline ticket for $140, even with the changed economy rates in the city. That number may change, though, over time.
And when booking flights, take the time to calculate your flight and the fees, too. Fee and service charges are on the rise, and they can make up to a third of the final cost of your ticket. According to The Travel Site, all passengers should be aware of fees such as baggage, early boarding, change fees, seat selection, and more, all over flight tickets. When booking your tickets on a travel site such as Hotwire.com and Expedia.com, consider the possibility of waiving or avoiding some of these costs, too.
Expense Limits: What About Airlines & Airline Credit Cards?
Unfortunately for frequent flier flyers, frequent flier miles were redefined way back in 2009. The government department that set the standard for frequent flier program covers were lowered, and while most current airlines still include the original frequent flier miles, everyone must put a few cents back into the program to get them. The end result is that only a fraction of the miles that an airline once gave you back are used to buy your ticket.
As a result, people on travel sites who already have a couple of miles saved will get to redeem them without much trouble, but most people will be overage at the end of the day. Travelers who don’t have a lot of miles saved will be stuck paying for extras such as baggage fees, food, entertainment, etc., and these will be charged back to them. Once again, fee and service charges could easily eat up these miles you saved up.
Credit cards can help with these fares, but there is a caveat. The “convenience” factor comes in after you spend enough dollars to save for the eventual rewards that might come from your credit card, such as the mile multiplier on other cards you have or the miles or points bonus available. This reason means that the “convenience” factor outweighs the desire to earn miles or points through a credit card, at least when it comes to the rewards that can be earned. The hardest part is the initial investment – time, credit card payments, and travel – for the big rewards you may get in the end. A lot of people know to pay off their bills in a month or two to avoid the interest charges associated with carrying a credit card balance, but they can’t get enough to offset these charges, even if the miles are generous.
Where does Frequent Flier Miles Rank in the world?
The world of frequent flier programs is a complex beast, and the ones you choose for yourself may vary. Do some research, but when it comes to frequent flier miles you really have to do some math to determine the mix of actual money that’s being spend versus the dollar amount of the miles that’s available for redemption.