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Looking at various air miles programs around the world, it seems to me that they're only useful for business travelers, who basically get free flights out of their employer's pocket. However for a regular Joe, who pays out of pocket, all of the programs seem useless when comparing to the option of simply flying the cheapest flight at any given time. Even benefits such as business lounges are either useless (why would I use a lounge on a non-transfer flight?) or can be bought for a reasonable fee when needed.

There are also credit cards which give out cashback in the form of air miles, however their pay-out is usually lower than simply getting a fixed cashback in dollars.

So, is it ever useful for a person to care about air miles if they're paying for everything out of their own pocket?

Looking at various air miles programs around the world, it seems to me that they're only useful for business travelers, who basically get free flights out of their employer's pocket. However for a regular Joe, who pays out of pocket, all of the programs seem useless when comparing to the option of simply flying the cheapest flight at any given time. Even benefits such as business lounges are either useless (why would I use a lounge on a non-transfer flight?) or can be bought for a reasonable fee when needed.

So, is it ever useful for a person to care about air miles if they're paying for everything out of their own pocket?

Looking at various air miles programs around the world, it seems to me that they're only useful for business travelers, who basically get free flights out of their employer's pocket. However for a regular Joe, who pays out of pocket, all of the programs seem useless when comparing to the option of simply flying the cheapest flight at any given time. Even benefits such as business lounges are either useless (why would I use a lounge on a non-transfer flight?) or can be bought for a reasonable fee when needed.

There are also credit cards which give out cashback in the form of air miles, however their pay-out is usually lower than simply getting a fixed cashback in dollars.

So, is it ever useful for a person to care about air miles if they're paying for everything out of their own pocket?

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Would a non-business traveler ever benefit from collecting air miles, as compared to simply buying the cheapest ticket available?

Looking at various air miles programs around the world, it seems to me that they're only useful for business travelers, who basically get free flights out of their employer's pocket. However for a regular Joe, who pays out of pocket, all of the programs seem useless when comparing to the option of simply flying the cheapest flight at any given time. Even benefits such as business lounges are either useless (why would I use a lounge on a non-transfer flight?) or can be bought for a reasonable fee when needed.

So, is it ever useful for a person to care about air miles if they're paying for everything out of their own pocket?