5 Tips to Make the MOST Out of Your Air Miles
L + I love to travel, but there’s no way we could travel as much as we do if it weren’t for our air miles. Air miles allow us to fly for free without doing anything extra on our part! While we love our credit cards for allowing us to gain even more air miles - you absolutely do not need to have a credit card if that isn’t part of your financial plan.
always input your mileage plan number
For years, L + I would travel + never input our mileage plan number on airlines that we didn’t fly frequently because we always thought it didn’t seem worth it. We would rack up miles on our most commonly flown airline, Alaska, but would lose out on so many points for our less frequently flown airlines, such as United. While this tip may seem obvious, we now realize most of our friends still have that same mindset! Even the smallest trips can add up, + if you’re flying on the same airline multiple times a year, by the end of each year, you could have enough for a flight. Even if you aren’t patient enough to let the points build up to a roundtrip flight, you can use them to upgrade to business or first class on your next flight!
know which airlines are partners
L + I both flew on Icelandair this year + it was months until we realized they were an Alaska Airlines partner! Thankfully, we were both able to retroactively add these points to our Alaska Mileage Plan. Those miles partnered with our points earned actually flying Alaska this year will make a HUGE difference! We don’t fly Icelandair often (we’ve each only flown it once), so it made way more sense for us to add these points to Alaska - an airline that we fly on multiple times a year. If you book a flight on an airline you don’t normally fly on, check out their partner airlines + add your miles to the airline that makes the most sense for YOU.
take advantage of credit card points - wisely
L + I each have two credit cards that we earn air miles on. We both have + LOVE the Chase Sapphire Credit Card. K has the Alaska Air Credit Card + L has the Delta Credit Card. We signed up for these cards when they were offering huge sign up bonuses + used referral codes to get even more points + give some to our friends! We then just use the cards as we normally would - to pay for any monthly bills, our day to day purchases, etc. If you do have multiple credit cards that allow you to earn air miles - check which ones make the most sense to use for each purchase. For example, some credit cards give you double or triple points on travel purchases, whereas others give you extra points at restaurants. Check what your credit card offers extra points for + use your different credit cards to earn the most points depending on the purchase. Just make sure you ALWAYS pay your card off, in full, each month. Click on our links above to earn up to 50,000 extra bonus miles on a single card (hint: that’s enough for a roundtrip, international flight!!)
combine air miles when possible
Some airlines are partners + will allow you to combine your air miles across airlines. While you may need to pay a small fee (sometimes) to transfer air miles across airlines, it can work out to be worth it if it means a free flight or a free upgrade! Before booking, check what air miles you have available across all the airlines you fly + see if you can combine!
shop before booking
Similarly to our suggestions above, know which airlines are partners + will allow you to transfer your miles + then see which of those airlines will allow you to book your flight for the fewest miles. For example, K was looking at using her Chase air miles for a flight to Dublin this summer. On Chase it was charging her 68,000 points for a flight with layovers. Chase allows her to transfer her miles to Aer Lingus + it was only 40,000 points for a non-stop flight on Aer Lingus! A much better deal for a much better flight! It’s a little bit of extra work on your part, but is completely worth the savings!
There’s nothing better than traveling + knowing that a huge financial cost, like your flight, was covered by doing nothing extra! This year we each booked roundtrip international trips using only air miles, + also took multiple domestic trips using only air miles. It allows us to travel far more frequently without going over on our budget!