As we end the year frequent flyer miles become an obsession with every AV Geek. Unfortunately we’re not alone, the private party of miles accumulation and awards is over.
Using miles for free international premium cabin flights was a great stratgey but today it’s getting harder and harder to use those extra loyalty perks.
And no wonder, way back as of January 2005 a total of 14 trillion frequent-flyer points had already been accumulated by people worldwide. We don’t have accurate more curent stats but I can tell you the figure has grown.
So now everyone is cashing in because in today’s world you don’t even need to fly in order to accumulate miles. You can get a free ticket just by getting a credit card. Offers are always updated. I just got a new Citibank card with American Airlines and was rewarded 75,000 miles for joining and spending $5,000 in the first 60 days. Offers like this are always going on so check with the pointsguy.com for up to date details.
So back to spending those miles.
Airlines have increased miles for awards and that’s a shame. American Airlines was one of the best for one way tickets and availability .You could use less than 70,000 miles for a one way Cathay Pacific first class award ticket from the USA to Asia but that has sadly changed and you will now need over 100,000 miles.
Delta increased their miles redemptions too; as have most airlines. If you are an elite member with some carriers they offer more availability which helps and they also offer deals from time-to-time. However the changing rules and the increased flyer base makes it harder to use your miles and it also means you’ll have to spend more of them for a flight.
But there can be a solution.
Some airlines like Delta and BA will let you use miles and cash. This can be a good option to utilize less miles and a little cash and so it’s definitely worth checking out. I also find you can sometimes find awards with a combo of points and cash which you can’t using just frequent flyer miles.
My advice is to use the miles you have and don’t save them and they become less valuable each year while the ways in which you can use them becomes more limited. My mantra is earn and burn.
One finally idea which may help in finding award tickets for your frequent flyer miles is to try to use your miles at the last minute. Often you will find more availability within 48 hours of travel than you will when airlines first release their select few award seats one year in advance. When airlines release the award seats one year to the day, they block off very few and so closer to the day if there’s still space they will open up seats. So for booking award tickets your best bet is to commit very early or very late for award seats.
Daniel Green, the Model Cook is a Celebrity Chef known for his healthy approach to food and living well. With TV, books, magazines and live appearances, Daniel spends his time helping fans to cook better, feel better and live better. He’s also an avid traveler and a self-confessed Foodie.