Air miles can allow you to travel in First and Business Class for a fraction of the cost of even an Economy ticket. They can cover up to the entire cost of the airfare, just leaving you to pay the taxes. I can show you how to maximise the earning, and also the spending of these miles to allow you to travel worldwide, in both luxury and value! Just looking at the British Airways First Class Suite above, you can understand the benefit and excitement of flying Business and above. What’s more you can earn air miles to spend on 1st class travel without evening having to step foot on a plane!
Let’s get you started. If you’re just starting out, you’ll need to pick a Frequent Flyer Programme. And the key is to pick one which will allow you to earn the maximum miles, without having to change your spending habits. I’ve highlighted a few of what I consider the best earners below. Then head over to my blog, TrekTrends, where I update tips, tricks and glitches which you can use to maximise your air miles. You’ll be flying cheaper and more luxuriously before you know it!
TrekTrendy.com winner : BA Executive Club, Best for collecting Avios points:
Intro to the programme
The British Airways Executive club can be joined by clicking here. It’s a straight forward sign up process and once you’re a member you can earn what’s known as Avios points (think of it like a currency) on any British Airways flight, or any oneworld partner flight.
Earn without flying
Though as I’ve already mentioned, you can also earn Avios points in many other ways, which are not flying related, such as shopping and staying in hotels. Though this is the tip of the iceburg, the real deal clincher is that Tesco Clubcard points can be directly transferred into Avios points. Every £2.50 in clubcard vouchers translates to 600 avios points.
Obviously you’ll want to earn miles anytime you fly, and you can enter your frequent flyer number when booking on the airline website. Points will differ on the class of booking, so for example you’ll earn 1x the miles flown for Economy bookings, 1.5x for Business and 2x for 1st Class.
Give me more
Another great frequent flyer programme.. especially in the UK, the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Intro to the programme
You’ll want to Join the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club here. Sign up is quick and easy and you’ll get your new frequent flyer number emailed to you within minutes. This can be used when booking flights.
Earn without Flying
Ok, so whilst the Virgin Atlantic flying club may not be part of Avios, you’ll can earn miles in a multitude of ways, such as car rentals (500 per booking) and hotel stays. But hey, here’s the real benefit. The Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Credit card. The card comes with dual Amex, and Visa cards, but also you’ll get a sign up bonus of anything up to 30,000 miles, which can give you close to 2 return upgrade tickets in Business Class.
Of course, this is the joe-public earning method, but you’ll be surprised how few people actually sign up for a frequent flyer programme, even those that fly regularly. Just plug in your frequent flyer number every time you fly and you’ll earn up to 100% of the miles flown.
Remember, like with BA you’re not just limited to earning flying exclusively on Virgin. You can fly on any of their 13 partners and earn miles. Again this varies on booking class and ticket, but it can be anything up to 150% of the miles flown.
Whenever you fly you’ll earn tier miles. These count towards what’s known as an elite status, which you can hold with an airline. If you fly a lot this can really benefit you, as you’ll gain lounge access, priority checkin and fast track security even if you’re flying in economy. Furthermore, at a higher status, you’ll earn more air miles for each flight, up to 400% on some airlines.
One of my Favourite’s
TrekTrendy.com – Maximising miles : Etihad Guest
Intro to the programme
Etihad is one of the new age (est 2003) Middle Eastern Airlines, competing with the likes of Emirates and Qatar. You’ll probably see quite quickly on TrekTrendy that Etihad is one of my favourite airlines, for a multitude of reasons, most probably because they’ve got great Economy, Business and First products, they’re competitively priced and also they offer a very generous frequent flyer scheme.
Earn Without Flying
You can earn miles staying in hotels, hiring cars as well as shopping online. You can even get 5,000 miles for free if you have a UK limited company – watch out for that soon!
I genuinely think Etihad have one of the most generous schemes for earning, out of the frequent flyer programmes out there. If you fly quite a lot, long haul to Asia, Africa and the Middle East, I’d encourage sign up.
Aside from their quarterly promotions for earning double / triple miles per booking. You’ll earn up to 100% of the miles on an economy flight and then up to 400% on a 1st class flight.
Over the past year I’ve earned over 90,000 Etihad guest miles. This has largely been from booking at times when there have been double / triple promotions on miles flown, which as I’ve mentioned happen quite a lot!
By all mean sign up to lots of frequent flyer programmes, but in my opinion it’s best to pick your top 1 or 2 programmes, in order to maximise redemption possibilities.
Header Image courtesy of British Airways