Beginner's Guide To Being A Frequent Flier

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Travel used to be so simple. Want a nice leather seat and a glass of Champaign on your flight? Pay for a first-class ticket. Want a corner hotel room with an included breakfast? Pay for a top hotel. And rental cars? Well, you didn't expect a whole lot of options in the past.

Nowadays, the travel industry has become very competitive. Companies will go the extra mile to keep their best customers. Travel loyalty programs have sprung up to identify and keep track of customers who frequently travel. Airline's frequent flyer program rewards their customers on the number of flights they book a year. Hotels give out points every time a customer books a stay.

As a customer, it makes sense to review and take advantage of these programs. After all, it can make the difference between a cramped flight between screaming children or a peaceful nap with first-class accommodations!

Mileage/Point Bonus

Travelers accumulate mileage, points, or hotel stays and then redeem them later in the form of free trips or other benefits. Typical programs include a 10-20% points bonus at the lowest level and up to a 100% points bonus at the highest status levels. These bonus points add up and can be valuable upon redemption.

Airline Seat Upgrade

Airline seat upgrades are another benefit of participating in a frequent flyer, hotel and travel reward programs. Airlines allow Frequent flyers to upgrade their seats a few days before their flight. This allows customers who wish to upgrade from economy to first or business class seats.

Frequent fliers who upgrade their seats to first class will have access to the First Class lounges for passengers waiting on their flights.

Priority Check-In

Priority checking allows frequent fliers and first-class passengers to pass through congested lines at the airline's check-in counter.

Frequent fliers who upgrade their seats to first class will have access to the First Class lounges for passengers waiting on their flights.

The fastest way to earn frequent flyer miles is shopping. Most airlines have partnerships with major retailers and credit card companies. Another popular method of earning frequent flyer miles is to book a hotel room or rent a car with a partnering airline.

Earning frequent flyer miles can be a great way to save on travel and indulge in luxuries like upgrades that you may otherwise be unable to afford. Buying air miles is another alternative to save up for that dream vacation.

Check out an airline's terms and conditions before you join their frequent flyer program.