What are frequent flyer miles

I have heard of these and don’t know what they are. Does it mean for every 10 miles you fly you get one mile free and you can cash these in for a plane ticket or something?

Yes, exactly that. For each flight you pay for, your miles account gets credited some number of points that is related to the miles flown. If you get enough miles together, you can get free flights.

A round trip to the US cost me 50,000 of my mileage points just a few weeks ago.

You can also rack up frequent flyer miles good for certain airlines on some credit cards. My last few vacations have been subsidized by this method.

Also, some credit cards have affiliations where you earn frequent flyer miles with the associated airline by charging stuff to your card. Not sure about the ratio, and for all I know, it varies from card to card.

It’s usually one mile flown= one mile credit. If you have an affiliated credit card, and you use it to pay for flights, you get double miles. Anything bought on the credit card gives you 1 mile per dollar as well. If you travel, you should enroll in a FF program. It makes all kinds of sense.

You sign up for an airlines program, and you earn ‘miles’, which can be exchanged for free airline travel. Miles are typically earned for travel, and in other ways too. Different airlines policies vary wildly. The program I use most often is Alaska Airlines. See this Post

How does this program work with American Airlines?

The reason I ask is that Mrs. HeyHomie have flown from Springfield to Disneyworld & back twice now, and we haven’t enrolled in any frequent flyer program. At 800 miles each way, we’ve racked up 2400 miles, each, over two years.

How does that translate into real dollars for us? If we had enrolled in their FF program, would we have enough FF miles for a free flight to Orlando next year?

With most airlines in my experience, you need at least 25,000 miles to get a free flight (within the continental US & Canada). To go to Alaska/Hawaii, or to Europe it takes more miles. However, if you are going to be flying on a consistent basis, sign up for the program. It’s better than letting the miles go to waste.

BTW, you can’t combine your miles with Mrs. HeyHomie. Each person must have a separate account.

If you do join AA’s frequent flier (flyer?) program, you can usually talk them into adding flights you took previously. The point of the program is to make you - Mr. and Mrs. Homie - choose American Airlines over other airlines in the future. Next year you may want to go to Disneyworld again, and AA has a flight for $300, whereas United is offering $270. Should you save $30, or should you go with AA and keep working on that free flight? And there ya go, they get a couple more passengers over their competition. So it’s in their best interest to credit you the old flights, since that will prevent you from shopping around other airlines for better frequent flier programs.

Also, airlines group their frequent flier programs together. AA and United are notably in different groups (United is part of the Star Aliance, don’t know what AA is in). The Star Aliance has Air Jamaica and some other airlines in it - the credits I have with United are usable on Air Jamaica and others. But they’ll tell you all about that if you join AA’s program.

American also has agreements with Alaska, Northwest, and I think Continental – so you can earn AA miles with all of them. They also may have other ways to earn miles, similar to the links I posted for Alaska Air. I’m sure they have a credit card, at the very least. Go to their web site and check it out!

One of the most notable benefits of having Frequent Flier miles is that once you accrue a large enough pile, the airline will often upgrade your passenger category. I fly a round-trip from BWI to LAX on United every other month for business, and now that I’ve been doing that for a year, I have “Premiere” status. This means that I can reserve exit row seating in advance, and have a better chance of getting seated near the front of the plane where the seats have an extra 5" of leg room. I also earn upgrades just for flying – a certain number of round trips in coach gives me an upgrade token good for 2,500 miles in first class. If I want to spend two or three of them, I can take a flight to L.A. in first class (provided there’s room).

There are all kinds of advantages for frequent travelers beyond airline miles, but that doesn’t mean that air miles are valueless for those who travel infrequently.

One of the airlines I had just a few thousand miles with, sent me a form to exchange miles for magazine subscriptions. I got 5 different magazines for 1,000 miles each. I’ve seen many opportunities to donate miles to cancer patients – so they (and their parents) can travel free to noted treatment centers.

Air miles are a unique and intriguing form of currency, with arcane rules and loopholes. In the (very surreal) movie ‘Punch-Drunk Love’, Adam Sandler finds that by purchasing pudding, he can earn a disproportionate amount of air miles. This is based upon the story of David Philips, who bought $3,000 of pudding and earned a million air miles.

There is also Operation Hero Miles which allows people to donate their frequent flyer miles to troops returning from combat.

And FTR, American Airlines is part of the oneworld alliance which includes AA, British Airways, Aer Lingus, Cathay Pacific, Iberia, Finnair, Lan Chile and Qantas.

The best place to learn about American’s, or any other airline’s program, is at their website. American’s is www.aa.com. Fat Bald Guy is right on (even if he didn’t know it) about American requiring 25,000 miles for a flight inside the continental US and Canada. Another option would be upgrades. Those are either 5,000 or 15,000 miles (depending on the type of reservation you made) to upgrade to the next class within the US/Canada. So, generally, that’d be from Coach to First.

The other way to earn FF miles is by using a credit card tied to a particular program or by using or shopping at partners, either airlines or other types of businesses. American, for example, is partnered with the aforementioned One-World Alliance, as well as several charities, several telecom companies and ISPs, a dining rewards program they set up, lots of different financial services, lots and lots of hotels, all the major rental car companies, a variety of retail stores, and a cruise/vacation program they set up.

Plus, of course, you can always buy FF miles. American charges either 2.75 cents or 2.5 cents per mile, depending on how many you buy, plus a $25 fee. If you’re close enough to a free flight that the price of the miles will be substantially lower than just buying a ticket, it’d be worth it. It’ll add up fast, though. To purchase the max of 25,000 miles would cost you $650.

So my initial impression that the 2, count 'em, TWO frequent flier miles donated as a raffle item at a recent reunion (by a person who I KNOW has the bucks) were, er, less than a spectacular prize? Kind of like winning a quarter?