A Newbie's Take on Airline Rewards Programs

Apparently, I'm going to Las Vegas next month! With ridiculously cheap weekday hotel room rates and soon to be expiring deals from airlines like Southwest and Virgin America, it's prime time for a cheap Vegas vacation (if you can handle the heat)! More on this in another post.

After booking my tickets, I spent several hours signing up for and redeeming mileage points from various airline rewards programs. It was actually my first time dealing with airline rewards since I don't fly on my own that often. Here are a few things I learned in the process:

1) Sign up for the rewards program before booking the flight: I booked my flights before signing up for the programs, and hence wasted a good amount of time trying to figure out how to get my flights retroactively credited.

2) Don't wait too long to get your points credited: Most airlines will only credit points up to 3 to 12 months after your flight. Don't wait or you may lose your points forever!

3) Don't hesitate to ask for expired points: Call center representatives have a lot of power. When I called United Airlines asking for points that expired 9 months ago, they credited my account. Airline companies want your business, and will do what it takes if it means you'll fly with them again or enroll in their credit card program. Unfortunately for the kind United call center rep, I declined the credit card. However, I'll definitely fly United again at some point!

4) Don't pay to be part of special airline discount programs: Unless you plan on traveling a lot with a single airline company, then it's probably not worth paying to be part of airline rewards or discount club programs. Make sure to read all the fine print so you're not surprised with a bill. The same concept applies for a credit card - not worth it unless you fly regularly with a single carrier.

Traveling is fun, so why not make the most of your money by getting some rewards points! Thanks to these programs, I hope to someday earn myself a free flight or two!


  1. I think airlines should give more free flights to passengers. They have so many empty seats sometimes and it's a great way to give a reward loyal customers, especially when passengers are disgruntled.

    1. Hi Nick! I think the closet I've ever gotten to a free flight was either using airline miles or flying Spirit Airlines. That would be a great way to promote, especially during low flying seasons.

      Thanks for visiting my blog!

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