Earning miles – Basics
To earn miles, you have to register first with one of the many airline frequent flyer program.
You can, of course, register with various programs at the same time. But don’t register with every airline, one for each alliance is enough.
- For Oneworld we suggest you register with: British Airways Excecutive Club
- For Skyteam: Air France Flyingblue
- For Star Alliance: SAS Eurobonus or Miles&More
You don’t have to be an expert, but knowing the basics will help already a lot.
Earning miles without flying
Many travelers think earning miles is only for frequent flyers, that is definitely not true. With most frequent flyer programs, you can not only collect miles with flights alone. But also with credit cards, Payback, hotel bookings, mobile phone contracts and more. Each program has its own rules. For some, the miles you have earned expire after a certain period of time, for others they are forever.
Benefits and rewards
The rewards and the value of the miles earned also differ from company to company. While with some programs the miles can only be exchanged for free flights and upgrades, others offer a variety of products and other services.
The better the status, the more amenities
The goal of most members of frequent flyer programs is, of course, above all to exchange miles for cheap flights. But also a higher frequent flyer status brings preferential treatment when flying and thus more comfort.
What does “Earning Miles” mean anyway?
It’s actually very simple: all you have to do is sign up for a frequent flyer program and off you go! With most airlines, this is very easy via the website or an app, and for FREE.
Personal data is requested, so when booking a flight or at check-in, the corresponding miles can then be credited to the account.
What is a mile anyway?
A mile is not just a mile. When the first bonus programs started in the early 1980s, one air mile flown was often equivalent to one mile that was credited to the account. In the meantime, this calculation does not work anymore.
How many miles you ultimately get credited to your account depends on several factors:
- Which route is flown?
- What is the ticket price (not for all programs)?
- Which class has the flight been booked in?
Award mile or Status mile?
The different categories of airline miles can confuse some collectors. Status miles can only (with some very few exceptions) be obtained through flights and push the much-coveted frequent flyer status upwards. With partners from other industries, like online shopping, credit cards, you only get award miles.
- Can only be earned through flights
- Affect frequent flyer status
- Can be collected while flying or from partners on the ground
- Only redeemable for rewards: “free” flights, upgrades or other products
Which is the best frequent flyer program if you live in Luxembourg?
Even though SAS does not fly (anymore) from Luxembourg, you will earn more miles when you fly with Lufthansa with the SAS Eurobonus program than with Lufthansa’s miles and more program. However, with Miles-and-More you have the opportunity to get the BCEE Miles & More Visa Card to earn miles on daily purchases. SAS Eurobonus is better if you earn most of your miles with flying, rather than with shopping.
If you have an American Express card, you can choose to which frequent flyer you convert your earned points.
More details why you should choose these 3 programs can be found on our friend’s website from Premium-Flights, where to credit airline miles?.
Opportunities to earn miles
As mentioned earlier, miles cannot only be earned when booking a flight.
These are the best options:
- Booking flights (that’s quite obvious)
- Applying for a credit card (huge bonuses are often available)
- Booking Hotels
- Renting cars
- Online shopping (many airline programs have dedicated platforms)
- With Payback points (in that case only for Miles&More)
- With magazine subscriptions (mostly for Miles&More)
For whom is it worth earning miles?
Earning miles is worth for everyone, as it is for free.
The miles you have earned cannot only be redeemed for free flights and upgrades. From jewelry to electronics to kitchen appliances, most programs have everything imaginable. However, in the end, this is the worst option, as the equivalent of a mile is relatively low. But if you don’t want to use them for flights, it is better than nothing.
With many programs, you can even do something good and donate any amount of miles to environmental protection projects.