Save With Frequent Flier Miles Using The Right Tools, Attitude

frequent flyer milesAccumulating frequent flier miles seems to be the easy part of the deal. We fly. We get miles. They add up. However, when we look a bit closer we find there are rules, and that all miles are not equal. Once we get tens of thousands of miles on a given airline or alliance, however, the focus shifts to using them. And that’s when life as a frequent flier can get difficult.

A good first step is to decide if you even want to play the mileage game or not. Frequent travelers, for business or pleasure, may have an easier time of deciding while those who rarely fly anywhere might think there’s no real point to it. Experts disagree.

Some do say frequent flier mileage programs are a scam. Consumer expert Christopher Elliott recently advised, “Remove all the frequent flier cards from your pocket. Grab a pair of scissors, cut the plastic into tiny little pieces and toss it in the trash,” reports John DiScala on his JohnnyJet website.

“I couldn’t disagree more,” replies DiScala who travels over 150,000 miles a year on about 30 different airlines. “In fact, I say do the opposite. Travelers should sign up to as many reward programs as possible because it’s basically free money if you play the game right.”Following that advice, or just falling into having loyalty accounts on a number of airlines, passengers find that figuring out which program to use for any given flight can be a chore. A new tool can help.

Milez.biz
is a cross program comparison and calculation tool that can calculate redemption between any two destinations for over 70 different programs.

In reply to our story questioning “How Frequent Fliers Might Be Affected By Airline Merger,” Philipp Gysling of Milez.biz writes, “for people wondering how the value of their miles may change post-merger, they can compare them now to see if they should try to cash some in.”

Entering any two destinations along with a choice of frequent flier programs produces quick results starting with the lowest rate for award flights found in the selected system. You can also transfer rates and calculate the number of points needed to convert and transfer from a hotel or credit card program.

An info button brings some extra information about the program in question and a click on “Login” links directly to the frequent flier program’s login page. Not a member? No problem, clicking “Apply” links to the frequent flier program’s application page.

“Check Rates” links to the frequent flier programs own calculator or rates tables.

Better yet, if the frequent flier program being viewed is distance based and a connection is necessary, the calculator will finds the best connection, then calculates the flight distance through that connection.

Need additional incentive to invest a little time in knowing about frequent flier programs?

“I’ve taken hundreds of flights all around the world thanks to using my frequent flier miles,” says DiScala, “including treating my parents first class to Europe on multiple occasions.”

Airline Offers Space Flight to Frequent Flyer Winner


[Photo credit – Flickr user Slices of Light]

Hawaiian airlines offers free flights to the mainland

Hawaii seems like a beautiful place to live – great coffee, awesome surf conditions, nearly perfect weather at all times. But, hundreds of miles out in the Pacific, I imagine it starts to feel a bit isolated, especially with the high cost of flights from the islands back to the mainland US. But for those Hawaiian islanders looking to get away to the rest of the US for a while, Hawaiian airlines, has a pretty great deal.

For every inter-island round trip flight you book on Hawaiian Airlines, you’ll get a discount on your flight from Hawaii to other destinations in the US. The discount starts at 10% (for one round trip flight) and goes all the way up to 100% (yep, a free flight!) after you’ve taken 10 round trip flights around the islands.

Inter-island flights began racking up points towards the discounts on August 3 and will continue through December 31, 2009. The discount can be applied towards flights booked for now through June 15, 2010.

The discount applies to flights to select cities in California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada.

British Airways offers free companion fare

Fly on British Airways between now and January 29, 2010 and you could earn a free companion fare for your next flight.

To get the free ticket, you need to sign up for the Executive Club (which is free) and take a round-trip flight to any one of the 300 destinations to which the airline flies. Then, book another ticket January 4 to July 30, 2010 for travel January 11 to December 15, 2010. You’ll pay full price for your ticket but just taxes and fees for a friend.

Don’t count on sitting next to your companion though, at least, not unless you’re willing to pay up. British Airways now charges passengers $30 to $90 to choose their seats 24 hours before departure. After that, they get free pick of what’s left, which means they may not be able to sit with their traveling companions.

The airline has also reduced baggage allowances and instituted more fees. The charge for the first additional bag is $50 to European and UK destinations and $60 for other international locations. At those prices, the companion fare isn’t exactly “free”.

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Enter to win a free trip from Seattle to Reykjavik on Icelandair

Iceland. Just the name makes you shiver. But despite its frigid moniker, Iceland is surprisingly warm, especially during the long days of summer. With almost 24 hours of daylight, it’s the perfect time to explore the country’s other-worldly landscape. Watch geysers erupt, scamper over moss-covered former lava fields, stand in the shadows of plunging waterfalls, hike through rifts in the earth’s crust, gorge on smoked puffin or grilled whale, and cavort with the short, stocky Icelandic horses that seem to be everywhere you look.

Now, thanks to new non-stop service from Seattle to Reykjavik starting July 23, it’s even easy for west-coasters to travel to Iceland just in time for summer. And one lucky winner will get to go for free.

To celebrate the inauguration of its new non-stop route, Icelandair is sending one winner and a guest on board the very first flight. They’ll fly from Seattle to Reykjavik and then on to Copenhagen, where they’ll spend one night and enjoy a canal boat sightseeing tour. From there they’ll take an overnight cruise to Oslo, spending two nights in town before they fly back to Reykjavik. After three nights in Iceland, the winner will fly back direct to Seattle on July 31st.

To enter, just visit the website and fill out a form. Winners must be residents of the US or Canada and available to travel from July 23-31. Winners will be announced tomorrow, July 17th.

Oh and today’s the last day to enter, so what are you waiting for? Good luck!

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Australian “free” fares must be free from now on

It’s a seductive little move: offer free flights, and then slap the passenger with taxes and additional fees. Tiger Airways just did it this month. It attracts potential customers, generates buzz … all the good stuff that an airline needs in this market. A new law, however, is going to bring all this to a close. Air carriers will have to disclose all the “extra” costs up fronts, and free, for once, will mean free.

And, it’s not just the airlines. This overhaul of consumer protection laws covers any company that sells travel – including hotels and town car companies. It could even rope in dive tour providers.

We can debate who loses with this development forever, but the winners are immediately apparent: anyone who voted for this law looks like a consumer rights champion. Beat up on the airlines, if you’re an Aussie elected official, and you’re really asking the voters to let you keep your job.