How To Maximise Your Air Miles,Confessions Of A Frequent Flyer

How To Maximise Your Air Miles,Confessions Of A Frequent Flyer



Many people think they need to travel frequently and great distances before Airline miles really begin to pay off. The truth is, as I recently discovered, that with a little extra effort you can climb loyalty programme levels and see your mileage accrual double. Hallowed lounge access becomes available, and waiting to check in and board the Aircraft is something other people do.

The trick to getting the most out of Airline loyalty programmes is to understand how they work. Sixty two of the world's biggest Airlines belong to one of three alliances: Oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam. This means every single Flight counts, as you can earn points across a network. So, for example, if you're an Air New Zealand Airpoints member, you can still earn points flying Lufthansa as they're both members of Star Alliance. The more you fly, the more you earn; the higher the class of cabin, the more you earn; and don't forget that staying AT HOTELS, hiring cars and using your credit card can also juice your points totals.

Every loyalty programme uses different terminology, and it can seem quite daunting, but the broad methodology is the same. Knowing the difference between ordinary points/miles usually corresponding to the number of miles flown and tier points the points that allow you to move through different status levels is key. If you want to add Jet fuel to your earning potential, checking out online forums such as FlyerTalk will open up a world of possibilities.

After years of passively and inconsistently collecting points, I realised that I was nearing British Airways (BA) Silver status Sapphire status in the Oneworld network. This may not sound as grand as GOLD, platinum or diamond in the precious metal stakes, but the step up for flyers from BA Bronze to Silver is massive in terms of comfort and convenience, including business class lounge access, priority check in and boarding, and extra luggage allowance across the entire One World network.

Nearing my goal of 600 tier points needed for Silver status, my situation was also pressing as my tier point counter was creeping towards its annual reset date tier points are annual accumulations and reset to zero after 12 months, air miles on the other hand, last for years. I turned to FlyerTalk and Altimtr websites, and suddenly the crazy world of mileage runs, travelling purely for the sake of points, opened up to me.

Gabriel Leigh is the founder of Altimtr, a website for frequent flyers, and clocks up 200,000 miles a year. He is also a filmmaker who created the documentary Frequent Flyer, which looks into the phenomenon of elite status chasing. It's easy to get hooked. There's no name for people who do this, not that I know of mileage junkies maybe? though some might feel that's a bit excessive,says Leigh, lamenting that mileage running was better value 10 years ago when fewer people were doing it and the Airlines had lower thresholds.

There are many stories of mileage runners working the system with CHEAP FLIGHTS TO obscure places at curious times to bump themselves up to elite status. Leigh himself has done some outlandish mileage runs by normal standards, but nothing compared to committed mileage junkies. "I've done things like fly New York to Tokyo via Singapore, or from San Francisco to Berlin, Munich and Helsinki on an eight segment ticket over the course of four days,says Leigh, and that's unremarkable among the people who take this seriously.

On FlyerTalk, I looked for posts that fit my specific get-status quick situation using routings that started in Hong Kong before my points' expiry date. FlyerTalk users such as London-based financial investor Nick Fetcham he gave us this pseudonym as he prefers to remain anonymous are invaluable to other flyers around the world, offering tips on SAVING money or maximising points.Over the years, I've learned a lot of tricks, which today are no longer the secrets they once were,says Fetcham, who estimates he travels 150,000 to 225,000 miles per year.FlyerTalk is the best way to learn how to fly for less, in better cabins, and stay in HOTELS FOR far less than many people who just don't care as much about these things.

Fetcham has been a FlyerTalk user for 12 years for a reason. "Sites such as seatguru.com and tripadvisor.com are pretty useless in my opinion, since they are too mass market, and heavily edited and moderated, to be of much specific use.

Emboldened by my research and on the cusp of a new and better status with only days before the Tier Point counter resets to zero, I take the plunge and commit to my first mileage run. My plan is to take a quick trip to Thailand and an even quicker trip to Taipei nothing too dramatic in the mileage run stakes. After the ease of completing the run and my newfound exalted status, Leigh was right it is easy to get hooked.





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Air Distance Calculator,
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Mohini Porwal [ B Sc]
Trainee News Editor
New Zealand Aviation News Editor
WWW.New Zealand-Aviation-News.blogspot.com


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