At Social Travel, we receive lots of questions from customers about frequent flyer programs when they book flights with us but do not bother signing up for the programs. Names can be deceiving: in the case of “frequent flyer programs”, we believe they are actually great for infrequent social travellers. Here are the top 10 reasons:
1. Donate miles to charities:
Many frequent flyer programs like Aeroplan, AAdvantage and Mileage Plan enable you to donate to a variety of social causes from disaster relief (e.g. Fort McMurray Fund), to food banks, to cancer research. Why not make a difference when it doesn’t cost you a penny (or a nickel as pennies have been phased out in Canada)?
2. Fast-track airport security automatically for U.S. travel:
If you have fast-track airport security access under programs such as NEXUS, Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or SENTRI, or have been provided with a redress number to override the Do Not Fly List, major airlines including American Airlines, Delta, United, JetBlue, and Alaska encourage you to save your Redress Number or Known Traveller Number in your frequent flyer profile on their websites Once you have your profile updated, these airlines should submit your information for fast-track clearance to the TSA when you book your ticket, so that your boarding pass would be marked with fast-track eligibility automatically when you check in.
3. Set travel preferences:
Similar to what airlines do with your fast-track airport security access, airlines also encourage you to save your seat preference (window or aisle) and meal preferences under your frequent flyer profile. It will speed up your check-in process and enhance your flying experience.
4. Enjoy Elite Benefits without flying much:
Holding certain types of credit cards may make you eligible for elite benefits on affiliated airlines. Air France/KLM offers passengers Flying Blue Petroleum elite status after one round-trip to selected destinations if you work in the oil and gas industry.
5. Save on baggage fees:
Have a big trip coming up and want to take lots of baggage with you? You may be able to pay for excess baggage exceeding the free baggage allowance with your frequent flyer miles. Currently, Cathay Pacific/Cathay Dragon, Etihad, Air France/KLM, ANA, Royal Jordanian, Avianca and many other airlines offer travellers the opportunity to redeem miles for extra baggage allowance.
6. Earning miles is easy:
Thought you always need to carry your frequent flyer card when you fly? Earning miles is easier than you think. At Social Travel, we encourage you to input your frequent flyer number when you book on our site while enjoying the lowest guaranteed fares, so you do not need to always carry your frequent flyer card with you.
7. Special promotions create extra value:
Airlines often collaborate with non-airline partners on special promotions. For example, members of Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue program get a complimentary glass of champagne when they dine at participating Daniel Boulud’s restaurants in the United States and present their membership card. Yes, in this case, you have to carry the physical card with you to get the freebie!
8. Earn miles on low-cost airline bookings:
At Social Travel, we provide a variety of low-cost carrier options you don’t find at most travel agencies. In addition to taking advantage of unbeatable prices, you will earn frequent flyer miles on your flight with JetBlue and Spirit Airlines.
9. Earn miles on partner airlines:
As most airlines belong to one of the airline alliances – Star Alliance, Skyteam, OneWorld, and/or Etihad Airways Partners, you can earn and redeem miles on airlines within the same alliance. Non-alliance carriers such as Alaska and Emirates also have an interesting collection of airline partners who are affiliated with different competing alliances.
10. One round-trip may earn you enough miles for a short-haul one-way trip:
Flying to Central Europe on a 100%-mileage earning ticket for a summer vacation? You may just get enough miles to redeem for a one-way trip from Toronto to New York City, Washington DC, or Chicago (subject to limited availability) as programs like British Airway’s Executive Club and Air Canada’s Aeroplan have the lowest redemption level set at 7,500 miles + taxes and fees within North America. How about your return trip? Book the lowest fares on Social Travel or ask the experts at Social Travel for advice.
Did you put your frequent flyer number on your last flight booking? Comment below if you have any question on how to get the most out of frequent flyer programs when you book with Social Travel.