If you have a credit card because you want to take advantage of a frequent flyer program, it might be a good idea for you to get the most up-to-date information on how you can maximize the benefit.
Many people carry credit cards and use them to pay for bills, groceries, and other expenses just to rack up the associated frequent flyer miles. If this sounds familiar then you might also relate to the consumers who wonder about the best way to get the most out of programs like this.
Fortunately for you, and them, there are many online tools designed to make this hunt a little easier; these web destinations are aside from your credit card or chosen air carrier’s corresponding website, of course.
First of all, you should visit ExpertFlyer. Their site gives you access to specific flights to view available seats. Depending on your type of travel points (some are specific to passenger air carrier while others are generic and available to use on a variety of airlines) your access could be free or require a small “pro” upgrade.
The pro upgrade also lets you compare seats between airlines for similar routes and times as well as set up an alert that tells you when a seat upgrade or a “better” seat becomes available on your selected route. This upgrade is $4.99 a month so the site is really only a value to customers who have a need to know this information on a consistent basis.
Secondly you could also consider BookYourAward and Savvy Traveler. These sites actually negotiate for the best possible deals with their air carrier partners. If you travel frequently (as often as several times a month) these sites could be of great use to you.
Keep in mind, however, that they charge a $150 fee per person per trip and $75 per hour for this service. Again, it is something that could be worth it to you if you know you have a lot of miles to spend and would prefer to pay the convenience charge over doing all of the leg work yourself.
One major reason why these options are better than hunting down your frequent flier deals through specific airlines has to do with complications that go along with the co-branding process.
For example, you already know that an AAdvantage Visa credit card will give you frequent flier miles with American Airlines. The complication, though, is in dealing with the respective companies.
When you make a purchase and rack up points, they are banked immediately in your frequent flyer account when you pay your monthly bill: the bill you pay to Visa. However, when it comes to cash in your airfare rewards you will have to deal with the American Airlines customer service department.
Another complication some people encounter when trying to redeem airline miles is elitism. Most airlines fairly dish out their available rewards seats on a first-come, first-served basis.
Some airlines, though, offer better seats or better consideration to premium or elite-level members. Some customers, then, end up paying more in rewards miles for the same seat.
Most of the time, it is best to speak directly with the airline or a ticketing agent if you want to use your frequent flyer miles for a specific airline. Not only will they know how to find the best available seats, but they also have strategies for negotiating the best payout rates for you; after all, it is in the airline’s best interests to keep you happy. Most of the time they’ll be able to find what you are looking for with very little trouble at all.