Advice on frequent flyer miles from an expert

By: Mary Briscoe Categories: Budget Travel

Matt Kepnes
Matt Kepnes is a travel extraordinaire and creator of the immensely popular website ‘Nomadic Matt’. Kepnes started his journey by quitting his job in 2006 and travelling the world for 18 months. He has now published 5 books, has a huge online following and can be said to be an expert on racking up miles, gaining elite status on airlines and seeing the world along the way. Giving tips and Advice on frequent flyer miles.

Using travel cards

travel cards
Hiss most important advice when it comes to stockpiling miles is to use travel cards buying everything and anything on them. He also advises strongly on subscribing to airline newsletters in order to stay updated about promotions, deals and contests, in addition to also making sure that you read the fine print so that you’re saving money rather than spending it. “You shouldn’t sign up for a card just to get miles if it is going to require you to spend extra money. You don’t want to go into debt for a free flight,” cautions Kepnes. One of Kepnes’ rule of thumb is to stick to a travel credit card that has a spending requirement less than $1,000 and an annual fee below $100.

Fly frequently, stay loyal

American Airlines
Another tried and tested way of earning miles is to fly, and preferably one airline consistently. What this helps with is getting elite status faster compared to spreading your miles out across different programs. Even though Kepnes personally thinks that when it comes to reward programs American Airlines is the best he says it’s more important to keep your individual needs in mind when picking a frequent flyer program. “Join the program for the airline that you are going to fly the most, is the most convenient and has the most options for you,” says Kepnes. If you travel a lot using the same airline is the cost effective method but if you don’t using a discount site, like ‘Kayak’ or ‘Vayama’, to shop around for tickets is a better option. Also, according to Kepnes, “You are better off getting an airline credit card which offers some of the benefits of those statuses like a free checked bag or expedited boarding.”

Travel no-no

Travel no
He strongly disagrees with hoarding miles to retain elite status. Which makes sense because if you fly frequently you will get elite status rather quickly but if you travel only once or twice a year the status isn’t worth it anyway. It is smarter to cash in your miles once you have enough for a flight. “Airlines constantly devalue their point systems and increase the number of points needed for redemption,” says Kepnes. “You shouldn’t hoard.”
Kepnes once flew from London to Hong Kong on business class absolutely free, so needless to say this advice is literally worth every penny.

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"The frequent flyer scheme has become as much part of the business traveler's life as a mobile phone or a passport. Indeed, when they were launched twenty-five years ago, air miles promised to be the passport to riches for those flyer loyal and busy enough to earn them."
"For the average traveler, that means buying miles or points in order to reach a threshold for an award ticket. Most airline charge 3 to 5 cents per miles."
"There is a group of traveler junkies so obsessed with racking up frequently flier miles, they scour the internet for deals that take them through little known airports."

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