Okay, maybe I'm an idiot, but I really don't know...

I am on the verge of a possible job that will require me to travel quite a bit. Now because neither I, my family or most of my friends have ever been in a position to travel this much I have no idea how to get or gather frequent flier points/miles. Please can one of you seasoned jet-setters explain it to me? Do you have to fly with one airline? My tickets will be booked through an agency with the company I work for, can I still gather the frequent flier points? How?

You sign up for them, the easiest way is to go through the airline’s website. Each airline has its own rewards program, so sign up for all the airlines you will be flying on. Usually big companies show a preference and stick to one airline as much as possible. Yes, you still get points when going through an agency. You just tell the agency or get credit at the gate.

Just contact the airline. Sometimes, multiple airlines share a FF-program (e.g. BA’s “One World” here in Europe - it covers Air Lingus and a few others as well. Also, NorthWest and KLM).

Most companies let you keep your FF-miles.

If you are travelling for business, and the company uses a travel agent, ask the travel agent to sign you up for the airlines that you will be using.

If you will be making your own travel arrangements, an easy way is to sign up as you make reservations, rather than sitting down and calling 12 airlines in a row. You will probably find that there are three or four airlines that you end up using for your destination cities. The first time you make reservations on a particular airline, ask the agent to sign you up.

Many airlines now partner with each other on the FF miles, so be sure to ask.

It’s often a hassle to get the airline to add your FF miles if you forget to do it when you make the reservations or when you check in at the gate. On the phone, they usually do not ask you, you have to volunteer your FF information. On most websites, you can enter your FF # automatically.

Many car rental companies will also give you points towards your FF miles based on the money you spend. Again, volunteer this infomation. I also heard that some hotels do this (although not the chain my company has a contract with, grumble grumble).

xixor said:

This used to be true, but it’s starting to change. Big companies are now starting to go with whoemver is cheapest. So, you could go on a trip on United, and fly back on Air Canada. Really big companies have their own travel agencies who will figure all of this out for you. Some of them will even sign you up for FF miles, so you don’t have to do it yourself.

Some airlines are parts of conglomerates, which share their airmiles. Necros mentioned United and Air Canada–they have the same FF program, so the air miles are interchangeable (along with (I think) Lufthansa and a few others).