Frequent flyer programs might help you earn free trips, but they can also be difficult to understand and navigate.
Here’s what you need to know if you’re just getting started with these programs.
Loyalty programs are a straightforward notion. You buy something from a store and they give you a discount or a gift in exchange. Of course, they’re not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. These initiatives are designed to influence your future purchases rather than reward you for previous ones. Frequent flyer miles are one of the most well-known loyalty (points and miles) programs available.
You can see some of the big frequent flyer programs’ basic rules below:
(Please make sure to visit each airline’s/ffp page’s website for more information)
Turkish Airlines – Miles&Smiles
Turkish Airlines is one of the most prestigious airlines there is, flying to more than 120 countries and 200+ destinations.
43 countries in Europe, 9 countries in Americas, 38 countries in Africa, 31 countries in Asia, and 49 cities in Turkey.
What is Miles&Smiles?
Miles&Smiles is Turkish Airlines’s advantageous frequent flyer program. You can easily create your own Miles&Smiles account on Turkish Airlines’s webpage or application.
You can earn miles by booking Turkish Airlines flights or using the Miles&Smiles credit card.
Turkish Airlines is a Star Alliance member, so you can also use your accumulated Miles&Smiles miles to book award tickets from another Star Alliance member airline.
As a Miles&Smiles program member, you can get an upgrade for yourself or your relatives in exchange for your miles on flights operated with Turkish Airlines and participating Star Alliance member airlines, without the requirement to fly together.
What are the advantages of Miles&Smiles?
You can book and award ticket using your Miles&Smiles miles in exchange of the amount of money you’d pay for a normal flight ticket. You will only pay for the required TAX amount and you’re good to go!
Turkish Airlines usually make remarkable amounts of promotions on miles, so you can book your award ticket for less miles from time to time! Make sure to subscribe to Miles&Smiles mails to get notified when there is a promotion.
If you don’t have enough accumulated miles to fly to the destination you have in mind, you can buy miles from Turkish Airlines for 30 USD for each 1000 miles.
Miles&Smiles also allows its members to transfer their miles to each other, so you can get the miles you need from someone you know, but there is a 10 USD transfer fee for each 1000 miles.
How many miles do you need to upgrade your status?
You can earn your way to a more advantageous Miles&Smiles status and have a lounge access, easy upgrade etc.
You need to earn;
• 25000 Status Miles to Classic Plus status
• 40000 Status Miles to Elite status
• 80000 Status Miles to Elite Plus status
Delta Airlines – Skymiles
All benefits that Delta offers in the SkyMiles Program are conditioned upon your compliance with this Membership Guide and Program Rules, the terms and conditions described elsewhere throughout delta.com, all terms and conditions of Delta’s contract of carriage, Delta’s fare rules and all other applicable Delta rules and regulations.
Delta’s SkyMiles program is open to any person in any country that has not prohibited participation in frequent flyer programs. Corporations and/or entities cannot be enrolled as Members.
Mileage earned under the SkyMiles program will be credited to your account within eight weeks after qualifying activity occurs.
- For air travel: Provide your SkyMiles number at time of booking or check-in for each flight. The name on the reservation must match the name on the SkyMiles account for mileage to be credited. Flight activity must be completed before Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs), Medallion Qualification Segments (MQSs) and Medallion Qualification Dollars (MQDs) will be credited to your account.
- Hotel and car rental partners: Provide your SkyMiles account number and name as shown on your SkyMiles membership card at time of hotel check-in or car rental pickup. Mileage is credited only to the Member whose name appears on the bill for the hotel stay or car rental.
- All other partners: Provide your SkyMiles number and name as shown on your SkyMiles membership card at the time of transaction or satisfy the registration requirements specified in the mileage offer terms.
- Compliance: Mileage earned is subject to compliance with all requirements of the individual partner’s mileage offer, such as in some cases membership in the partner’s loyalty program.
Reserve Status Boost: If in any calendar year eligible purchases on the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card are $30,000 or more, the Basic Card Member will be awarded 15,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (“MQMs” as defined in the Delta SkyMiles Membership Guide and Program Rules). If in that same calendar year eligible purchases on the Card are $60,000, $90,000, and $120,000 or more, the Basic Card Member will be awarded an additional 15,000 MQMs for each threshold. The close of the calendar year is December 31, without regard to the time of the year that the account is opened. For more information about the requirements for Medallion Status, please visit Medallion Program overview.
Platinum Status Boost: If in any calendar year eligible purchases on the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card or the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card are $25,000 or more, the Basic Card Member will be awarded 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (“MQMs” as defined in the Delta SkyMiles Membership Guide and Program Rules). If in that same calendar year eligible purchases on the Card are $50,000 or more, the Basic Card Member will be awarded an additional 10,000 MQMs. The close of the calendar year is December 31, without regard to the time of the year that the account is opened. For more information about the requirements for Medallion Status, please visit Medallion Program overview.
SkyMiles Members can redeem miles for Award Travel and many other rewards. Award Travel is limited to two connections per origin and destination for domestic travel and three connections for international travel. Award seats may be limited and not available on all Delta Connection flights. Pay with Miles redemptions are not capacity controlled.
Upgrade Offer: Mileage Upgrade Award is valid for upgraded one-way travel on most Delta Air Lines -and certain Virgin Atlantic/Air France/KLM and Aeromexico-operated flights worldwide, including connecting flights, between the origin and destination of a ticketed fare. Seats may not be available on all flights, in all markets, or for select fare classes. With the exception of Virgin Atlantic, Mileage Upgrade Awards allow a one cabin upgrade from the purchased fare.
For more details about Mileage Upgrade Awards, please visit Mileage Upgrade Awards.
Partner Airlines – Rules for Award Travel on other SkyMiles partner airlines may vary. The prices and benefits for each Award and each partner airline are subject to change at any time and are subject to the terms and conditions of each partner airline.
Pay with Miles
Pay with Miles is a mileage redemption option that allows you to pay for eligible tickets with miles, money or a combination of both. This option is an exclusive benefit for SkyMiles Members with a Blue, Gold, Platinum or Reserve Delta SkyMiles American Express Card. In some instances, Award Tickets may require fewer miles. Visit Pay with Miles for current redemption options and complete terms and conditions.
Upgrade with Miles
You can use your miles to pay the difference in a Main Cabin fare and a premium cabin fare for eligible flights within the U.S. 50.
Award Tickets are not eligible for Mileage Upgrade Awards, however Award Travel tickets and Miles + Cash tickets on Delta-operated flights and Pay With Miles tickets are eligible for Global or Regional Upgrade Certificates. Medallion Complimentary Upgrades on Award Tickets and Pay with Miles tickets are available to Medallion Members as well as one traveling companion who is a SkyMiles Member traveling in the same reservation. Visit Medallion Upgrades for more information.
Changes to Award Travel: Changes to origin, destination, routing, date and time are permitted except for Basic Economy tickets, and the mileage difference (and any applicable taxes) for the new Award ticket will apply. Effective September 22, 2020, changes and cancellations made within 72 hours of departure will no longer result in the loss of miles on domestic Award tickets.
Emirates – Skywards
Application for membership of Emirates Skywards is open to any individual who is at least two years of age. Applications in respect of Members under 18 years must be signed by a parent or guardian.
Emirates Skywards will issue a Member with a permanent digital membership number against which his or her Miles will be accrued. A Member will be able to access the digital membership card via the Emirates App after enrolment.
A Member may be granted a tier upgrade to “Silver’’, ”Gold” or “Platinum” Membership Tier depending on the number of Tier Miles earned in any consecutive 13‑month period. 25,000 Tier Miles or 25 Qualifying Flights are required to attain Silver Membership Tier, 50,000 Tier Miles or 50 Qualifying Flights are required to attain Gold Membership Tier and 150,000 Miles are required to attain Platinum Membership Tier.
A Membership Tier is valid for one year from the month it is earned and may be renewed subject to a Member having accrued a further 25,000 Tier Miles or 25 Qualifying Flights, 50,000 Tier Miles or 50 Qualifying Flights or 150,000 Tier Miles (as applicable) by the review date.
Members accrue Tier Bonus’ at the following rates:
- Platinum Member = Base Miles +75%
- Gold Member = Base Miles +50%
- Silver Member = Base Miles +25%
- Tier Bonuses contribute to a Members Skywards Miles account. They do not contribute to the Tier Mile account.
Depending on their Emirates Skywards tier, Emirates Skywards Members may be entitled to complimentary advance seat reservation such as: Complimentary lounge access, Paid Emirates lounge access at Dubai, Paid lounge access at eligible airports, additional baggage allowances, etc.
A Member may earn Miles for Qualifying Flights or earn Skywards Miles using the qualifying services of Partners on or after his or her enrolment date.
The number of Miles earned will depend on the origin, destination, class of travel and fare purchased. Use Emirates’ Miles Calculator to check the exact earning values for a particular flight.
Miles may only be earned for one loyalty programme for each flight or transaction unless otherwise stated by Emirates Skywards or a Partner. Members who are also participants of other Partner loyalty programmes must choose their preferred loyalty programme at the beginning of their journey. This applies to earning of Skywards Miles as well as other flight related benefits (including but not limited to) airport lounge access, baggage allowance etc. unless otherwise stated by Emirates or flydubai.
Skywards Miles can only be earned on Qualifying Flights or airline Partner flights. It is the responsibility of the Member to verify the accrual of Skywards Miles earned in these instances with the airline with which the flight is booked.
From 16 December 2020, the number of miles you’ll earn from flights will be calculated as below. Miles are earned as a percentage of the Ticketed Point Mileage (TPM), defined as the officially stated distance between two cities.
Enrolment to the Etihad Guest Programme
You can either enrol online or fill out an enrolment form available at check-in desks, on-board, at Etihad Airways lounges and at ticketing offices.
- Only individuals can become members of Etihad Guest, not companies or organizations.
- Individuals must be over the age of two to qualify for the membership.
- Application for Etihad Guest membership is open to residents of any country.
Different types of miles/segments a member can earn
Etihad Guest Miles: Earned by every member when flying with Etihad Airways and airline partners based on the booking class on the ticket or when the member uses any of our numerous non-airline partners ranging from banks, retail chains, hotels, leisure partners and much more and can be used to book rewards.
Etihad Tier Miles: Earned by every member when flying with Etihad Airways, Air Serbia, Alitalia and it is used to progress through the tiers, and maintain status within the tier (for Silver, Gold and Platinum).
Etihad Tier segments: Earned at a rate of one Tier Segment for each flight flown in Economy Class, two Tier Segments in Business Class and three Tier Segments in First Class.
Tier Bonus Miles: Etihad Guest Silver members earn a bonus of 25% of Guest Miles. Etihad Guest Gold and Platinum members earn a bonus of 50% and 75% Guest Miles respectively.
Progressing to higher tiers
On enrolment, all members will be Bronze tier. A member advances from one tier to another only if he/she earns the required number of Tier Miles or Tier Segments within a rolling 12 month period.
Etihad Guest Bronze – Enroll to the program
Etihad Guest Silver – 25,000 Tier Miles or 20 Tier Segments
Etihad Guest Gold – 50,000 Tier Miles or 40 Tier Segments
Etihad Guest Platinum – 125,000 Tier Miles or 60 Tier Segments
Maintaining the tier level
To maintain a given tier level, members have to earn a designated number of Tier Miles or Tier Segments within 12 months from the tier upgrade month. The following details the number of Tier Miles or Tier Segments needed to renew the tier level.
Etihad Guest Bronze – It does not expire
Etihad Guest Silver – 20,000 Tier Miles or 15 Tier Segments
Etihad Guest Gold – 40,000 Tier Miles or 30 Tier Segments
Etihad Guest Platinum – 100,000 Tier Miles or 48 Tier Segments
In case if a member fails to earn the required number of Tier Miles or Tier Segments, he/she will be downgraded to the next lower tier level For example – If an Etihad Guest Gold member has not earned 40,000 Tier Miles or thirty one-way flights during his qualifying year the account will be downgraded to Etihad Guest Silver. An account can only be downgraded one tier at a time.
Etihad Guest Bronze – has no validity limits.
Etihad Guest Silver, Gold and Platinum – is valid for the rest of the calendar year earned with an additional bonus of two months.
You can book a GuestSeat or OpenSeat via the Etihad Airways Website or by calling the Etihad Guest Service Centre. For airport service rewards, you can book these via the Reward Shop.
The types of flight rewards available – GuestSeat, OpenSeat, Upgrades and excess baggage
GuestSeat: A seat booked wholly using Etihad Guest Miles in specific booking classes, with a limited amount of seats designated per flight.
OpenSeat: When GuestSeats are not available anymore, members have the flexibility to book on any available class in the flight using miles. These tickets are known as OpenSeats. The miles required for OpenSeat is determined according to the booking class of the ticket booked and members can get this information from Etihad’s website when they book their flights. Higher booking classes require higher mileage contribution.
American Airlines – AAdvantage
Earning AAdvantage miles
Mileage will be credited only to the account of the AAdvantage member who flies, rents a car, stays at a hotel, or earns mileage utilizing other participating companies. No mileage credit will be awarded for canceled flights and/or through being accommodated on another airline.
AAdvantage flight mileage credit is determined on the basis of nonstop distances between the airports where your flight originates and terminates. Mileage can only be accumulated one time per flight, regardless of the number of seats purchased.
Redeeming AAdvantage miles
- Flight awards entitle you to one-way travel unless otherwise noted. Certain special awards require round-trip travel and immigration laws in some locations require proof of onward or return travel. One-Way awards can be combined to create a round trip or multi-city trip.
- Upgrade awards are limited to a one-way award with a maximum of three segments. No stopovers are allowed when using a one-way upgrade award. All upgrade awards are subject to capacity controls.
AAdvantage Executive Platinum members traveling on any purchased, published fare and for Platinum and Gold members traveling on any purchased, published fare on flights 500 miles or less in length are eligible for complimentary upgrades.
- Platinum or Gold members traveling on a flight greater than 500 miles in length may upgrade using 500-mile upgrades as payment.
- AAdvantage elite status members may upgrade one companion traveling on the same flight using 500-mile upgrades from their own account as payment.
- Non elite status members may only upgrade when they are traveling as the companion to an elite status member.
Upgrades are valid on American Airlines or American Eagle marketed and operated flights offering a First or Business Class cabin within and between the 50 United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Bermuda as well as between the United States and Central America (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua or Panama).