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39

Probably not the answer you were hoping for, but I think the best way to get upgraded is to fly a lot with the airline. Generally when the flight's overbooked in one class, and they're trying to pick which person to upgrade, frequent flyer status is the first metric they use. The higher your status, the higher up the list you go! Having a high status with a ...


39

To directly answer the title question, yes, non-business travelers can absolutely benefit from airline loyalty programs (i.e. earning points/miles as well as status.) Whether it's worth it for you in particular, though, will be extremely dependent on your particular situation and what options are available to you on the routes you normally fly, as well as ...


25

Courtesy! In my experience, simply being courteous to those behind the check-in counter (and the baggage handling staff, too) helps a great deal. Most airline staff is perennially overworked, and dealing with grouchy passengers doesn't help their cause. I have gotten upgraded (not only in traveling class, but also with excess baggage) a few times, by just ...


25

There are three things that set (some) frequent flier programs apart from other rewards programs. How important these are to you may determine whether they are worth doing. The first is "Status" which you refer to by mentioning business travellers. Never lining up, spending an hour or more less in the airport than others, waiting in the lounge eating and ...


21

The #1 rule of upgrades is to not believe most of what is said and written about them. There may have been a time (decades ago) when upgrades were at the discretion of the gate or flight crew, and being pleasant and well-dressed might work. These days, some airlines don't even have a premium cabin, and those that do have strict rules about upgrades. There ...


17

The phrasing "government funded flight" suggests that the flight was chartered by the Australian government. Charter flights are not usually eligible for miles. For example, Rule 9.3.1 of Qantas's Frequent Flyer rules says: Subject to the exclusions in clauses 9.3.2 and 9.4, Points for air travel may be earned only for paid travel or Any Seat Awards [......


16

I never managed to get upgraded myself, but my supervisor's technique is as follows: He always tries to fly with one airline, collects miles and has the highest possible frequent flyer status. He arrives quite early for check-in and goes to the Business Class/frequent flyer desk, and there he just asks if it's possible to get upgraded. It seems to work ...


16

Some airlines sell "last minute upgrades". For example Air Canada does this on almost every flight. At first it seemed to be about $100/hr - $500 for a 5 hour flight, for example - but I think it is somewhat less than that now. Depending on whether you think that's a good deal, you could choose either an airline that offers LMU (so you can have a chance to ...


15

No, you don't technically get the same status on other airlines. And it can't be requested. How it works is that Star Alliance has 2 generic levels of status - Star Alliance Gold and Star Alliance Silver. Each particular airline status corresponds to one of these two statuses. For example, if you're a Silver at Continental, you're also a Star Alliance ...


14

Bonus tip - on a flight two weeks ago from Los Angeles to Auckland, I was stuck in the 2nd to last row, in the middle between two big military folk. I was not looking forward to this. I'd tried at check-in and at the gate for an aisle seat, but no luck. However, on board I kept my eyes open and noticed the guy next to me had a buddy a row ahead. This was ...


14

No, you don't! From the terms and conditions of American Airlines AAdvantage program: You may accrue mileage only for purchased, eligible, published-fare tickets on qualifying routes used in accordance with all applicable conditions of carriage, tariffs, rules and terms of ticketing and travel. AAdvantage mileage accrual eligibility on airline ...


14

No, you will not get frequent flier credit if you do not fly. Irrespective of whether you check-in or not. Even if you go on board and then decide not to fly, you will be unloaded from the manifest and will not get credit*. Airlines are required to know exactly who is on board for a multitude of reasons, some of which are regulatory, and some of which are ...


13

No This is specified in the Terms and conditions of Miles and More. Specifically (emphasis mine), section 2.3.2: For each actually flown segment of a fully paid scheduled flight operated by Lufthansa, a joint operator or a Miles & More partner company, the member’s account will be credited with miles – subject to Sections 2.3.6 and 2.3.7. and ...


13

Flying Blue is the airline loyalty programme of Air France, KLM, Air Europa, Kenya Airways, Aircalin, and TAROM. The intention of the programme is to encourage you to spend more money with these airlines [instead of with their competitors], in exchange for certain benefits. SkyTeam is an airline alliance that includes all of the airlines above, plus several ...


12

By default, yes. There are a few cases where you might not: the company has some sort of flight pass. Some of those passes accrue miles only by being bought, not by being used the company got you a ticket by redeeming miles or the like - reward tickets don't earn miles the company booked and bought a super cheap fare that doesn't earn miles If the fare ...


12

tldr: If you travel once or twice a year, on full-price airlines with frequent flyer progammes, sign up for them. But don't obsess over them, and focus on price and other benefits first. Longer answer: As always, it depends. Many (most?) budget airlines don't have a frequent flyer programme (or at least one comparable to those on full-service airlines), ...


11

There are currently three main airline alliances, Star Alliance, SkyTeam and OneWorld. Wikipedia provides a pretty good overview of carriers to alliances to save you having to check each alliance's website in turn. Have a look through that and see which one you've mostly been hitting. Also, be aware that carriers sometimes enter, leave or change alliances. ...


11

They expire after 3 years: Any mileage not redeemed within 36 months of the date of accrual (date of flight, start of hotel stay, time of car rental) will expire at the end of that quarter (e.g. miles expiring in August of any given year would expire at the end of September of that same year), failing other arrangements published in the Miles & More ...


11

To get the HON Circle Status there is only one way: flying, flying, flying. As of this September only flights in Business and First Class will earn you HON Circle Miles and keep in mind: you have to fly with Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian or their affiliated companies (Star Alliance other than that doesn't count). Check out the program at http://www.miles-and-...


11

Almost all frequent flyer programs are designed to reward the flyer without regard to the purchaser, and that has always been the case since the first programs were devised in the early 1980s. There is nothing particularly odd about creating an account for a young child— there are many threads on FlyerTalk about toddlers who have earned gold status but can't ...


11

Airlines have a certain time limit till which you can claim missing miles. I am a Qatar Airways frequent traveler and they have the following conditions Time limit when becoming a new member = 30 days prior to the start of membership Time limit for claiming miles for existing members = 6 months after the flight date for your case please refer to the ...


10

One way that worked for me was when the airline was overbooked, and needed volunteers to take a later flight. It turned out that there was one no show in business class, so they gave my seat to a standby, and gave me the business class seat.


10

The booking class is the basis for the fare you paid. Within the 'economy' ticket section, there are different fare "classes", A, B, C, D, etc, that have different price levels and a certain number of tickets allocated. Different fare classes can also affect what types of rights you have - like if it's refundable or changeable. So you could have 20 ...


10

Star Alliance doesn't have a loyalty program. The individual airlines within the alliance each have their own loyalty programs, and each program has it's own criteria/promotions/etc. You would need to check with the individual program that you're a member of to see if they have any such promotions, but at least the few that I'm aware of do NOT have ...


10

Getting hotel upgrades is indeed like getting flight upgrades -- the odds are low, and stay low even if you try to game the system, but occasionally you win. I'm also assuming that you have no elite status with the hotel/chain, since that's a whole different ballgame, although it is also by far the best way to get upgrades. First of all, it's important to ...


9

Check in early! I've been upgraded only once, LAX to Cincinnati. It was a night flight and overbooked, so it was quite nice to get a nicer seat to sleep in. I did not have a frequent flyer deal with the airline nor did I pay or give anybody anything. I also don't fly that much either. The reason I think I was chosen for the upgrade is because I checked in ...


9

Being 6'4" on a Japanese airline. I was checking in on a partially empty daytime JAL flight from Sydney to Tokyo and they upgraded me to the exit row for free, even though I initially expressed my concern about understanding Japanese in an emergency. No techniques or tricks, just "otherwise"! It's possible that checking in early helped, though. JAL only ...


9

I don't have a Hostelworld membership, but I emailed them to see what the official stance is (without anyone risking getting their card invalidated). From Louise Clark on the customer service team: Thanks for your email. Gold Cards are registered to one email address so all bookings made with that address will be automatically discounted. You can ...


9

I don't believe that the Continental and US Airways programs are directly integrated. It looks like you can earn US Airways miles on some Continental tickets. US Airways and Continental are Star Alliance carriers. So, if you're a member of one of their frequent traveller programs (with sufficient status) then you'll get benefits on other Star Alliance ...


9

Yes, they are both members of the Star Alliance. So, for being gold on USAirways, you are automatically "Star Gold," across the entire Star Alliance network. The benefit of first class upgrades (unfortunately) is NOT one that you will be able to get when flying on Continental. That being said, most other benefits are reciprocal. For example, priority ...



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