Choosing The Best Frequent Flyer Program

Choosing the correct frequent flyer program is one of the most important decisions any traveler makes. The traveler must think of their goals and priorities. Is it to collect enough miles to take that trip that you always wanted? Or is it to get to elite status so you can regularly fly first class? Or it good just be to redeem the miles at places you like to shop at? Your purpose for joining a frequent flyer program will guide you as your navigate the myriad of programs.
What are your likely travel destinations?

Many airline carriers have certain routes that are their specialties. If you want to fly to Spain on a regular basis and potentially easily earn free flights to Spain, you would fly Iberia and join the Iberia plus program. Keep in mind there are 3 major global air alliances Oneworld, Skyteam, and Star Alliance. If you join one of the carriers within these programs, you are eligible to earn and redeem miles with all the members within the alliance program. This means if you have a certain location you have always wanted to travel too. Join the program that typically has the best fares or most routes to that location.

Easy to earn miles?
Many people do not realize you can earn miles in more ways than taking a flight. You can earn miles from simply using an Atm or Debit card that your frequent flyer program has a partnership with. You can earn miles by staying at certain hotels or shopping online. Not every airline has multiple options when it comes to earning miles through various avenues. With JetBlue, you can only earn miles through flights and their credit card. If you are serious about racking up miles so you can travel to your favorite location, this is a serious consideration.
How often will you be flying?
This is an important question to think about. It is also an area that a lot of first timer joiners of frequent flyer programs do not think about. You do not want your miles to expire before you get a chance to use your reward travel. Certain programs allow you to roll over your miles to the next year and certain programs delete all your miles after one calendar year if you have a low flight activity level. It is preferable to have your miles rollover to the next year and to make sure there is activity on your account every 18 months. Activity meaning flying or staying at a hotel that you can earn miles with your program.
How important is it to be an elite member?
Being an elite member of a frequent flyer program often means free upgrades and no checked bag fees among other perks. Most people want to just redeem their miles and get free flights. Think about what is the most important perk for you.
Members of Frequent flyer programs have various travel preferences, so no mileage program is going to work for everyone. Think long and hard about what you truly want out of a frequent flyer program. You want to be able to maximize the benefits of this program.