(or Frequent Flier Miles, if you’re that way inclined. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of alternative spelling)

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Top tips for earning miles

  • The more you fly, the more you earn.
  • Compare ticket prices with the status you might earn flying another airline.
  • Don’t let points expire: track them and make a small qualified purchase to keep them alive.

But you don’t need to fly often to earn big miles

  • Use a credit card that gives you miles.
  • Shop with partner companies to earn miles.
  • Take advantage of promotions.
  • Sign up to a bonus miles alert service to earn free miles.

Earn free bonus miles more easily

Lots of companies will buy miles from airlines. They use these as bonuses to encourage you to shop with them, or to sign up for market research or email lists. Sometimes airlines will have a milage sale, or allow you to transfer miles from one rewards program to another at a really good rate.

It can be difficult to keep an eye on these awards bonuses and figure out what is worth your time. We recommend:

Highly recommended: Travel Hacking Cartel

The Travel Hacking Cartel is run by long-time Indie Travel Podcast friend and supporter Chris Guillebeau. It’s a monthly membership system which sends you the best frequent flyer bonus promotions by email or SMS. All the deals are collected in the website too, so you can check in once a week and take advantage of the deals, if you wish.

Get a $1 free trial here; most casual travellers find the Business Class option most valuable.

2. Flyer Talk Forums

The FlyerTalk forums have amazing and wide-ranging discussions on miles: from the most valuable seats, the best milage runs, and almost every bonus imaginable.

3. Frequent Flyer Master + Travel Ninja

For an excellent overview and several practical strategies for earning and redeeming frequent flyer miles (including the cheekiest way to get into airline lounges we’ve ever seen), Chris Guillebeau’s first books on the subject of travel hacking are really useful. Buy one, or buy them both.

4. The Points Guy

The Points Guy is a useful blog with a regular postings of special milage deals and bonuses.

Because of the way the airmiles economy works, more bonuses and free miles are available in the USA than anywhere else. It sucks, but it’s true.

Plane views NZ
See views like these more often!

Managing your frequent flyer miles

It can be hard to keep track of all your reward programs and, most especially, the expiry date on those miles. We recently recorded a podcast on how to stop your frequent flyer miles expiring. In short, use a free management tool like AwardWallet.

AwardWallet allows you to enter your username and password for each account, which are then securely stored. The system can then go and check your balances as well as alert you when miles are going to expire.

What now?

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Podcasts, reviews and stories about frequent flyer miles on Indie Travel Podcast are linked below.