How do airline miles work?

Discover everything about airline miles. Learn how to earn and how to save a lot on your next flight! Keep reading for more!


Why airline miles are great for budget-friendly travel

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Why airline miles are great for budget-friendly travel! Source: FreePik

Many people fly yearly and don’t even know they’re earning miles. Do you want to know how do airline miles work? We’ve got you!

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Next lines, we’ll break the theme for you! Keep reading and learn how it can help you save tons on your next flight!

What are airline miles and how do they work?

Every year, millions of Americans take commercial flights over the country. If you’re one of them, chances are you’ve heard of airline miles.

At first, it seems great, right? And it indeed is! But you must be wondering how it works or how to get them, but don’t worry! We’ll explain!

Airline miles, or “frequent flyer miles,” are based on a loyalty program. This means you earn rewards when you book or fly with an airline.

Today there is more than one way to get your rewards. Thus, you can get it from booking directly from the airline website to buying products and services from partners.

But what are the benefits, and how exactly can you enjoy them? We cover this and more in the next lines! Keep reading to learn.

The benefits of having airline miles

Woman travelling and working on computer at airport
The benefits of having airline miles. Source: FreePik

Over the years, airlines have expanded their loyalty programs to keep up with the demand of more and more customers.

Getting miles in the past meant only exchanging it for tickets, but now there is more! Airlines often offer gift cards and even cash back!

Also, most companies have more than one way to earn miles! And trust me. You can earn a lot!

How many miles do you need to get a free flight?

You can earn miles in different ways depending on the airline. You can earn based on the ticket value, zone-based, or distance.

Cost-based miles are the simplest! The value you pay for tickets is directly related to your mileage points. It’s ideal for short distances!

Secondly, distance-based mileage programs are related to the distance you want to go and the points needed for booking.

Third, zone-based miles means that will be a specific amount of points to go from one zone to another, no matter the distance.

The number of miles to get a free flight will vary from 6,000 to 20,000 points for a one-way domestic ticket and 35,000 to 50,000 miles for international flights!

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How to earn airline miles

As we’ve shown before, one of the best ways of saving money with tickets is through mileage programs.

Furthermore, there are several ways to get points. Also, most airlines offer more than one way for their customers to enjoy! See next the main ones!

Online shopping

Most air companies have online shopping portals. Booking through websites or mobile apps will get you more points and bonuses!

Normally, you have to create an account, and every time you buy a ticket, you’ll be earning miles.

Before your next travel, search for the frequent flyer program on your preferred airline!

Using airline credit cards

Almost every airline in the U.S. has a credit card. They are co-branded with credit card companies!

You can make mile points with your everyday spending with an airline credit card. Because of that, they’re a powerful tool to enhance your earnings!

Normally you can apply for a miles credit card through the company’s website. Normally a good credit score is required.

Fly with the airline or its partners 

Young woman walking with travel bag and using mobile phone
Learn how to earn airline miles. Source: FreePik

You may be wondering if you must have a lot of loyalty programs from different airlines to enjoy miles, right? The answer is no!

You can book with a company and change your points with another one, as long as they’re partners!

Check the airline they’re partnering with on their website next time you book a ticket!

Other ways to get miles

Companies have changed their benefits to reach and maintain customer loyalty.

You can earn points even when you do not buy tickets!

Thus you can earn by getting products or services from partners, such as hotels, rental cars, and restaurant dining programs.

Vacation packages also can give extra points! So go for it!

How to redeem airline miles

First, you need to know that exchanging the points for booking will depend o company politics.

The total points needed may depend on distance, ticket price, or region.

The most common way to redeem airline miles is by booking award flights. But most companies’ flights have reserved limited seats with points.

Also, be aware that points are normally destinated to cover the tickets only. You still have to pay taxes and fees.

Lastly, companies give more options for redeeming miles! Some of them allow getting tickets using cash and miles together!

What to do if your airline miles expire

Redeeming miles is a great way to travel and save money indeed. But this benefit has validity, and you must check it!

As we covered in this article, booking air tickets is the best way to use your mile points.

But if you are not planning your vacation soon, other ways exist to exchange your expiring points.

Car renting, hotels, and event tickets are among the other benefits airline companies can offer.

Don’t lose more time! Go and check the benefits of your preferred airline!

Bottom Line

Now that you know how to do airline miles work, it’s time to take action! If you have your next vacation in mind, let us present you with an option!

Meet Spirit Airlines, one of the best in America’s low-cost carriers!

Also, with the Free Spirit mileage program, you earn points with each dollar spent!

Don’t wait anymore! Discover how to save money with Spirit in our next article!

New York, USA - 27 September 2020: Spirit Airlines mobile app logo on phone screen close up, Illustrative Editorial

Spirit Airlines: learn how to buy cheap flights

Are you looking for a way to save money on your next trip? Check out our tips and learn how to buy cheap Spirit Airlines flights.

About the author  /  Luis Felipe Regueira

I needed to learn about finances when I was in culinary school and wanted to save money to start my own business. So I haven't stopped because I believe studying and writing about the topic can help more people achieve their goals. Currently, I write about finances and run a small coffee shop.

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