Making the most of frequent flyer miles

When you are ready to use your frequent flyer miles it can be a trying process. Between blackout dates, limited availability and all of the other rules that go along with most airlines’ frequent flyer programs, you also need to make sure that you are using them when they are most valuable.

Some routes are expensive because they are extremely popular or because there is less competition that other routes. The key to making the most of your frequent flyer miles to always check to see what the prices are to buy a ticket outright versus the miles needed to purchase a flight with your hard earned miles.

When to use your frequent flyer miles

While a ticket from Boston to Los Angeles may be priced $200 different in December compared to July, occasionally you can get that ticket with miles without having the increase applied to your reward ticket. It is always wise to be sure to use your miles when you’re getting the most for them.
As an example, you can book a ticket from New York to Orlando in October on American Airlines for $274 – that same trip would use 25,000 miles from the AAdvantage program. The same number of miles on the same dates could get you a roundtrip ticket from New York to San Diego, which would otherwise be $409.

Airlines with good frequent flyer programs

  • American Airlines tends to be quite easy to book award tickets.
  • Southwest has a fantastic program based on the number of flights you have taken rather than the distances that you have flown.
  • Also be sure to check out frequent flyer management programs like UsingMiles or the paid version of TripIt.

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