Welcome to the world of points and miles! We’re sharing how ordinary people can travel to extraordinary places with the use of airline miles and hotel points. In this series we lay out steps to save money and travel more. These steps include:
- Getting Started with Points and Miles
- Look and Learn Before You Leap
- Decide What Type of Reward Points You Want to Begin Earning
- Sign-Up For a Frequent Flyer Account
- Earn Your First Points
- Pick the Pace That Works For You
- Earn Points Through Credit Card Sign-Ups
- Earn Points Through Credit Card Spending
- Earn Points Through Shopping Portals
- Earn Points When Dining
- Earn Points When Renting Cars and Booking Hotels
- Redeem Your Points for Travel
- Keep Your Points from Expiring
- Keep on Earning
In our last post we discussed deciding what kind of points you want to begin earning. Now it’s time to open up an account in which to start collecting your points and miles. Most major airlines and hotels offer loyalty programs, these loyalty accounts function as your travel “bank account” in which you’ll save points towards your next trip.
We’re calling this step “Sign up for a Frequent Flyer Account”. But obviously if you decide to earn hotel points, it’s not a “Flyer” account. It would be accurate to call them loyalty programs, or rewards programs, but you get the idea!
Signing up for a loyalty account makes you part of the airline or hotel’s loyalty program and grants you entry level status. Entry level status does not offer much in the way of benefits, but hey, it’s a start! For our purposes, it’s the place to collect our points and miles.
Because most airlines and hotels run a loyalty program, there are a lot of accounts you can sign up for. But this series is about taking first steps, so begin by opening an account with the airline or hotel for which you decided (in the last step) to begin earning points. For example: If you are going to earn miles to fly with Delta, open a Delta Skymiles account. Below is idea of some of the information they’ll request.
Below is the Sign Up page for American Airlines
Here’s the page to sign up for a United MileagePlus account
Once you sign up for an account, you’ll be given a frequent flyer number. This is the number which will be used for future point-earning activities, so record it somewhere handy. Once you are registered for your account, you can go online and keep track of your points.
Separate Accounts for Separate People
When you earn miles by flying on a paid ticket each person will need their own frequent flyer account. If your family of four is flying on a paid flight, each paid ticket will potentially earn miles but each person needs their own account in order to actually get the miles. This includes children. You can’t direct the miles from all four tickets, into one frequent flyer account.
On the flipside, you can use earned miles from a single frequent flyer account, to book tickets for four separate people. For example, if you have 100,000 Delta miles in your personal Delta Skymiles account, and find a flight that costs 25,000 Delta miles. You can book four award tickets for four separate people.
A Few Tips When Opening An Account
1) Some hotel and airline programs will offer occasional promos in which they’ll give points for signing up for their loyalty account. This can be a good time to sign up.
2) If you apply for a credit card that earns points and miles, you’ll be prompted during the application process to include your frequent flyer, or loyalty number. If you don’t include an account number, the credit card company will sometimes open up a new loyalty account in your name.
3) Do you travel with someone on a regular basis? Some frequent flyer programs offer the ability to record and save travel companion information.
If you want to fly using points and miles, you’ll need to a rewards account. What frequent flyer account, or loyalty program will you sign up for? Sign up for an account and start saving points for your next trip!