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46

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 ...


43

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 ...


30

Yes. There is the possibility you'll be questioned as to your motives, but in the end they're all domestic flights, so it's down to you and the airline for the transaction, and they've sold you the tickets. Of course, the Earth might not thank you ;) I know of a role here in Sydney which requires employees (non-airline) to fly 6 flights in a day, with ...


29

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 ...


28

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 ...


27

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 ...


26

If the airline is a part of an alliance (as in your first question), there might be some recompense in that other alliance partners might still recognise the points. But that's up to them and their individual terms with you in the ticket. As far as the points themselves - you'll likely lose them. A prime local example in Australia was Ansett, which went ...


22

Yes. The airline is a business, they are happy to receive your repeat custom. Your concern should be whether this is feasible: if the same aircraft is used to operate all flights, then one flight delayed will not impact the rest of your itinerary, because the subsequent flights will also be delayed. (This is called a "back-to-back" in mileage running terms.)...


22

The main source of income for Frequent Flyer programs is not selling your information, but instead selling points. Any time you earn points/miles from using a credit card that is affiliated with a frequent flyer program, the bank that issued the card has to purchase those miles/points from the frequent flyer program. The same is true for any other programs ...


19

There aren't any major disadvantages. In particular, there's no requirement to apply for the credit card. There are some possible subtle disadvantages. Having a MileagePlus account might in the future sway you toward flying with United even when some other airline would otherwise be better (in terms of price, schedule, service, etc). That's the main ...


18

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 [...]...


17

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 ...


17

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 ...


17

From United's website: The sale or barter or attempted sale or barter of any such mileage, certificates, awards or benefits other than as authorized and/or sponsored by United is expressly prohibited. Any mileage, certificates, awards or benefits transferred, assigned or sold in violation of the Program Rules, in addition to exposing the member to ...


16

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 ...


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

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 ...


15

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 ...


15

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 ...


15

It depends, but a really rough rule of thumb is that a mile is worth one cent. This means that you really shouldn't be paying more than $10 more to get 1000 miles. That said, there's massive variance between programs, how you value them and how you use them. If you use your points to pay for economy class travel and could have used heavily discounted ...


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

When you book your flight, it'll tell you what your Premier qualifying miles (PQM), Premier qualifying segments (PQS) and Premier qualifying dollars (PQD) are. Attached is a screenshot of a sample flight on United, with the details highlighted. When in doubt, you could just call/email the airline to get confirmation. Perhaps emailing would be better so ...


14

You need to read the privacy policy and terms and conditions of your specific airline's program as they should detail if they share any information and with whom. Keep in mind some information sharing is mandated by the regulator or the country (such as API); this is simply a cost of traveling. The main source of revenue is selling points to other ...


13

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. ...


13

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 ...


13

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-...


13

Per stay means no matter how many nights. That said, people who are close to a threshold for number of stays (and who travel light) have been known to book two hotels in the same city and move back and forth between them each day to get 5 separate stays out of a 5-night trip. It's annoying to check in and out like that and I wouldn't do it for 250 more miles ...


13

No, in the specific case of AAdvantage Terms and Conditions as jpatokal has already noted, but also, no in general. Accrual of points in multiple programs is expressly prohibited by most programs in the T&C, not just airlines but for frequent dining programs (you can have multiple credit cards for one program, but a max of one program per credit card) ...


13

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), ...


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