Should You Join a Frequent Flyer Program?

Tags: Travel tips health safety travel vaccines

Blog Post | Mon February 20, 2017, 03:52 PM EST


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February 20, 2017 -- One of the questions I get asked the most is about frequent flyer programs. Are they worth it? Do you need to stay loyal to one airline, etc. So here are my thoughts. Are frequent-flier programs worth it for everyone? Sometimes the answer is no. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to find out.

How much do you fly? If it’s short trips once or twice a year, you aren’t likely to get to elite status with a particular airline. So it’s probably not worth it for you. The magic number on miles is around 25,000 miles a year. When you hit that number, airlines start offering things like priority boarding, free checked bags and other perks.Even more benefits come when you hit 50,000 miles per year — things like free access to airport lounges, priority baggage tags and exit row seats. While it may seem like a lot, that 25,000-mile threshold is reachable much more easily if travelers have an international a couple of international trips in a given year. Or, if you do a lot of cross-country travel. If a flier is mostly doing short trips, that will take a lot longer to achieve.

What is important to you when you are traveling? Is it cost then a frequent flyer program is likely not for you.  You probably should just compare prices online and go with the cheapest carrier. If it’s where you are sitting, then this is more of a reason to aim for elite status as adding extra legroom can really add up. This goes for baggage fees as well.

How much is your time worth? Sticking to a specific airline can often mean extra stops and connections or perhaps even out-of-the way routings. Are you potentially willing to sacrifice your time to stay loyal to one airline?

Will you fly enough to be able to earn free tickets? This is really what it all comes down to. Free flights are definitely the goal of loyalty membership. For those who fly a lot, the miles add up fast. But even if not, you might manage to snag a ticket every couple of years. Do some math and figure out if you fly enough for this to be a possibility.

Again, with these questions, answers are different for everyone. But they are worth asking before you decide to chase miles and status.


Blog Post | Mon February 20, 2017, 03:52 PM EST


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