3 Quick and Easy Tips for Flying with Award Miles

Useful Tips to Getting More from Your Award Miles

Author: The Traveling Professor/Saturday, July 28, 2018/Categories: Save on Airfare

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Here are some quick and easy tips to help get more from your Award Miles travel program:

Book Separate Seats on a Direct Flight:  For example, a direct (not a non-stop) flight from New York JFK to San Francisco SFO stops in Dallas DFW on the same aircraft.  The mileage from JFK to DFW is 1390 miles and from DFW to SFO is 1460 miles for a total of 2850.  But, if you stay in the same seat the whole flight on one boarding pass, you will only be given credit for 2580 miles, the amount of miles for a non-stop flight from JFK to SFO.  But if you simply officially change your seat (like swapping with your travel partner), they will now issue two separate boarding passes giving mileage credit separately for JFK to DFW and then DFW to SFO.  That puts an additional 270 miles in your pocket (540 miles on a R/T fare).  It's easy to swap seats, just do it during the seat selection process when making a reservation. 

When Using Award Miles, Book Separate Flights on a R/T Ticket:  Let's say you want to fly round trip between New York's JFK and Barcelona (BCN) and assume each trip way is costing 30,000 award miles for a total of 60,000 award miles.  You can book it as a R/T flight on one reservation.  But what happens if you need to change just the outbound flight?  The airline may charge a penalty for changing both ways because both the outbound and return flights were booked on the same ticketing itinerary.  So now, the airline slams you for changes on both legs even though you are only changing one.  However, if you booked the award tickets separately and only needed to change the outbound flight for instance, your change penalty will be only for that segment.

Don't Use Award Miles to Fly Through London:    When flying to or connecting through London (and other parts of Great Britain and Ireland), airlines can assess surcharges that you are not exempt from even when using award miles.  These surcharges can be excessive and almost be equal to the cost of a flight if purchased for dollars.  I actually priced a ticket with award miles ticket connecting through London and it was $7 less than booking it with money.

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