“The Best Frequent Flyer Advice You Will Ever Get” is a chapter in Mileage Pro: The Insider’s Guide to Frequent Flyer Programs by Randy Petersen and Tim Winship. GoNOMAD excerpted this chapter so readers could find the best ways to fly for free, in their article “Mileage Pro: Getting the Most Out of Your Frequent Flyer Programs.” Here are five great tips from the story that will help you travel for less:
“Registered Traveler. Don’t confuse this with the government airport security program. Almost every traveler we know has missed out on collecting bonus miles because they failed to register for a promotion. These days, loyalty programs will require you to register for a bonus rather than automatically issuing you the extra miles and points. Make sure you know when registering is a requirement.
Suck up every bonus on international travel. Travelers who hit world capitals on a regular basis are prime candidates for bonuses. One trip to Asia in the right cabin class can earn you one free domestic ticket, as long as you register to earn the bonus.
Learn how to stretch your miles. If your three-year stash is about to expire, tap a small partner such as a car rental or dining program to keep those miles active. No need to fly or stay at a hotel. Just use your knowledge of how to stay “active” for another three years.
Qualify for elite membership. Nothing is as important as earning elite status in your primary loyalty programs. Verify the number of miles needed to qualify in both your airline and hotel programs. It’s well worth scheduling an extra flight or night in a hotel if that’s all that stands between you and the extensive benefits of elite membership.
Building miles. You can build miles by buying a home. All major airline and hotel programs have national programs to earn you a lot of miles for mortgages. And guess what? Some if the nation’s leading mortgage lenders: Countrywide, Washington Mutual Home Loans, Chase Home Finance, CitiMortgage and Wachovia Corporate Mortgage Services participate in these programs.
Take advantage of special mileage-earning promos. Hotels and car rental companies, along with airlines, offer bonus miles. Triple miles with an airline’s car rental partners is a frequent promotion, while hotels often offer double and triple points by property. Become a real estate agent and find the hotel property that gives you the best bonus. These bonuses will be listed on the hotel program’s Web site and in their member newsletter.”