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Frequent Flyer: Myths and Truths

If you’re flying on a regular basis, you’ve probably thought a lot about joining an airline’s loyalty program. However, with this decision come a myriad of questions – which is the best program and how long should you wait before you redeem your points? And is the price of joining actually worth the perks? To answer these and others questions, team decided to debunk some of the most common frequent flyer myths:

Redeem your points on the first available award flight

There’s a common misconception that the earlier you book your award flight, the better deal you’ll get. This simply isn’t true, at least not for most airline companies. Most of them will release seats for a particular flight throughout the year to ensure return on their investment, so relax - even if you don’t manage to get yourself a cheap ticket the moment the flight becomes available, chances are you can book another for the same price a few months later.

As a rule of thumb, if you’re planning a leisurely holiday or are flexible with your locations and times, try to book at the last minute; this strategy does come with certain risks but can also help you get a better deal on your flight tickets.

You can only use your reward points with the airline you got them from

Membership rewards points card

This one of the most dangerous myths and in the same time, one of the best-kept secrets of the industry. You might not be able to spend your miles on every other airline but you should be able to use it on partner airlines. For instance, if you’re travelling to Seoul, spend your Delta SkyMiles on their partner – Korean Airways – instead.

Beg your way into an upgrade

This is not only embarrassing but also inefficient. Gone are the days when you could beg your way into a premium seat or business class upgrade because you’re on your honeymoon. In most cases, companies would refuse free upgrades on any international flights; if you’re flying domestically, you might be luckier, though it won’t come for free either.

Your best chance is to ask about any upgrade offers as you check-in, as many airlines will offer discounts for last-minute upgrades (depending on availability, of course). Spending your miles on a seat upgrade is also a good way to enjoy some luxury while also earning yourself a couple of extra points.

You need an airline-specific credit card

Years ago, having an airline-specific credit card could get you enormous benefits but these days are long gone. In fact, having such a card means that you can’t transfer your mile points to other programs (technically, you can, but it’s so expensive it’s simply not worth it). Be smart about it and invest into a Chase Ultimate Rewards or an American Express Membership Rewards Points card – this is the best way to use your reward points.

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