How to Maximize Airline Rewards
[Updated August 2016]
After credit card rewards, for most people airlines will offer the next best chance to earn rewards (free flights). Now who wouldn't like to fly to a tropical island for free?
First, a bit about my travel patterns and then I can explain my system for airline rewards. I am based in San Francisco which means I have easy access to the San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose airports. I travel for work to New York, Chicago and Atlanta 2-3 times each per year. This is my primary source for earning status and miles. I travel to visit my family in San Diego and my wife's family in Seattle a few times a year. I also love to ski/snowboard so I fly to Salt Lake City and Denver twice each year. Lastly, I try to do one big international trip per year with the wife during the summer.
Most people would read the above paragraph and assume that I fly United (the major US carrier with a hub in SFO). They would be dead wrong. I hate United. In my opinion, they are the worst US airline - they are always delayed, they treat their customers with a lack of respect and they have very old planes in their fleet. So which airlines do I fly and why?
So now that you know what I fly and why, here is how I maximize point accumulation on these airlines:
To sum up: My main goal with airline miles is to maximize accumulation of miles on my long-haul business trips and then redeem miles for international trips (American) and short personal trips (Delta). Southwest I always fly for free using Chase ultimate reward points.
Next: How to maximize hotel reward points.
Questions? Comments? Tweet me @RetireOnRewards.
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