From what they are to how you can earn them, here’s your guide to frequent flyer points and the benefits they can provide.
Current offers and deals
What are frequent flyer points?
Frequent flyer programmes (FFP) are loyalty programmes offered by numerous airlines. An airline customer who is enrolled in the programme accumulates frequent flyer points which correspond to the distance that’s been flown on the particular airline or its partner airlines. Accumulated points can be used for air travel, eligible goods and services, enhanced flight benefits, flight upgrades, access to airport lounges, and priority bookings.
How do frequent flyer points work?
- Points and benefits. Frequent flyer points are not a new facility offered by airlines but many travellers don’t take advantage of these benefits - often due to lack of knowledge. Frequent flyer (FF) programmes offer benefits that are not necessarily associated with air travel.
- Accruing miles. The aim of frequent flyer programmes is to offer incentives as a way of rewarding customers for their ongoing loyalty. When flying, it is possible for the traveller to accrue free “miles” which are linked to flying with a specific airline. The more often you fly with a particular airline the more your awards.
- Keeping your points active. Your accumulated frequent flyer points remain in your account in a similar way to holding cash in your bank account. They increase the more you fly, but no equivalent of interest is added. Currently, the majority of the bigger domestic airlines work in a similar way and mileage accumulated does not have a use-by date attached. Some activity is required in your account, which is normally once in three years to keep your points. The airlines do sometimes alter their policies on mileage expiration. Once you reach a certain amount of points, you can redeem them for an award which, in most situations, is air travel.
- Partnered services. There are now other industries linked to travel that have partnered with particular airlines. This includes car rental companies and hotel chains. Hertz is linked to at least 60 frequent flyer programmes, both domestic and international.
- Hotel deals. Hotel chains, such as Novotel which partnered with Thai Airways, have ongoing relationships with airlines so travellers can use accumulated points to purchase hotel rooms.
- Earning points. A further benefit for frequent flyers is that points can be earned on a number of transactions that involve non-travel arrangements, too. These include purchases through credit cards where you can often earn one point or more for each dollar charged, as well as on various telephone services. Mortgages and stock trades sometimes have links to airline points, too. You can accumulate points by shopping at certain stores, either in-person or online.
What frequent flyer programs are available?
|Qatar Airways||Privilege Club||EVA Air||Infinity Mileage Lands|
|Asiana Airlines||Asiana Club||Lufthansa||Miles & More|
|Singapore Airlines||Kris Flyer||Qantas Airways||Qantas Points|
|Cathay Pacific||Asia Miles, The Marco Polo Club||Korean Air||SKYPASS|
|Turkish Airlines||Miles & Smiles||Air New Zealand||Airpoints|
|Etihad Airways||Etihad Guest||Swiss International Airlines||Miles & More|
|Thai Airways International||Royal Orchid Plus||ANA All Nippon Airways||Ana Mileage Club|
|Malaysia Airlines||Enrich, Asia Miles||Hainan Airlines||Fortune Wings Club|
|Garuda Indonesia||Garuda Frequent Flyer||Virgin Australia||Velocity Points|
Frequent Flyer Credit Card Comparison
Frequent flyer pros and cons
- It makes free travel possible. Frequent flyer points gives you the chance to visit somewhere you normally wouldn’t be able to afford.
- You can accumulate frequent flyer points through everyday spending. If you have a frequent flyer credit card or debit card, you can earn points without flying.
- You can skip queues and sit in the best seats. You can use your frequent flyer points for seat upgrades, securing yourself a spot in comfortable airport lounges, skip the check-in queue, obtain priority boarding, and nab free excess baggage.
- The value of rewards are not always clear for free flights. For example, the cost of fuel charges is often higher with free flights, so the value of a free flight is not so great.
- Limited seat availability for frequent flyer points. This often means one’s preferred flight time or destination is not easy to book.
- Frequent flyer point programs require extensive research. There are so many different options for frequent flyers, and many airline websites require time to establish which is worthwhile and good value for money. The deals are there but patience is required to benefit.
What to watch out for with frequent flyer points
Frequent flyer points are without doubt a bonus for travellers who accumulate large flight mileages annually and, if used wisely, they can offer worthwhile benefits. However, there are certain purchases that should be avoided and measures that should be taken if the buyer wishes to make maximum use of their points. These are explained below:
- Flyer points used on economy flights aren’t good value for money.
- Many airlines have their own frequent flyer stores, but these prices are often far greater than in-store. Shop at these stores only when bonus offers are available, and shop around first before you hit “submit”.
- Upgrading a seat to a higher class is more beneficial than using flyer points for free seats.
- Some airlines attach an expiry date to points, so this should be checked regularly to ensure no losses occur.
Frequently asked questions
What do I have to do to join a frequent flyer programme?
Each airline provides online information and a sign up facility for their specific frequent flyer programme.
Is a credit card necessary for joining an airline’s frequent flyer programme?
No, you do not require a credit card.
Is there a cost for joining an airline’s frequent flyer programme?
This depends on the airline: some charge for the privilege and others do not.
Will airlines offer points for flights taken BEFORE I joined their frequent flyers programme?
Some airlines do offer this facility but there is no standard followed by all airlines. You must check immediately after you’ve signed up for an airline’s frequent flyer programme to avoid losing any benefits or points.