Airfare is not as cheap as it once was. Because of many airlines facing bankruptcy and others having mergers, there is now less competition between airlines to attract travelers on their planes with more affordable airfare. To be a budget concious traveler, it is important to invest the time into researching ways to save money on airfare or you will end up paying for it, literally, when it comes time to purchase your next flight. By having an arsenal of frequent flyer miles, hotel rewards and us bank points you open up a world of not only the possibility of big money savings but taking dream trips you never thought possible. The kind of Frequent Flyer Tips to Using Frequent Flyer Miles will depend on your specific situation but there is a strategy for all types of travelers.
If you are taking short flights across state lines in the U.S. or hoping from one Euro-zone city to another you want to take advantage of your flights brevity by using a program that bases the miles needed for a flight on the distance flown. The distance based freqeunt flyer programs are the best because their costs trend lower as flight miles distance shrinks.
British Airways, one of the more popular distance based programs, offers a price of 4,500 miles for a domestic U.S. flight that is less than 650 miles whereas American Airlines, not a distance based program, prices the same flight at 12,500 miles.
Not only do you save money by using miles but by picking the right type of miles program you also save your miles for another tirp.
For those big international trips you should always turn to your frequent flyer miles. This is where most travelers will see the biggest amount of savings and potential for upgrading your vacation to a fantasy level of luxury. For just 125,000 miles you can fly round trip in first class to any number of locations from Europe to South America on a ticket than can cost upwards of $10,000.
You should avoid taking your vacation time on all national holidays which, Unless you are a teacher, should be fairly easy to manage. For those who can’t manage to resist the temptation of peak travel dates, you should at the very least look into traveling to destinations that are in their off-season.
Avoiding the crowds not only will give you a better shot at finding space on the flight you want to use your frequent flyer miles on but it can also significantly drop the cost of your vacation.
Pay with Miles and Cash
Some frequent flyer programs allow you to pay for flights with a combination of points and cash. This is a great option when you may not have enough miles to pay for the entire trip but you do have enough to pay for half and then the second half you can use cash.
This strategy can also be used to get more use out of your miles and keep them as an asset to hedge against the costs for future flights instead of usig them all on one vacation.
Find the Best Rewards Cards
Unless you fly for business it is next to improbable that you will earn enough miles for your next trip.
When finding the right travel rewards card you should research which airline will fly you to your destination, consider how many miles the signup promotion offer gives you, if there is an annual fee for cardholders, and if there are foregin transaction fees when using your card abroad.
Other considerations should be if the card gives you any priority boarding or access to priority security checkpoint lines and free checked bags for your resevations.
A frequent user of travel rewards cards, like the Delta SkyMiles credit card, Zach loves to analyze everything about frequent flyer miles. You can find more credit card tips and frequent flyer miles tools on his website: The Travel Abstract.