Friday, May 14, 2010

Sneaky Ways to Use Your Frequent Flyer Miles

The Perrin Post, Conde Nast Travel Editor Wendy Perrin's blog, held a contest recently for the best frequent flyer usage stories. They came up with some doozies, which are not only fun to read but contain valuable advice on the myriad of ways one can successfully work loyalty programs.

One reader was trying to use her miles to get her college-age son home during a holiday weekend. She was told "no, no, NO!" by reservationists, over and over. There were absolutely no seats in coach available. Then inspiration struck. She called back and asked if she could get a first class seat with her miles. Bingo! The seat cost no more miles than an economy class one would have, and the kid got to travel in style, to boot.

Another traveler finessed one round-trip flight into a two-week trip in two different locations. He flew from Dallas to Las Vegas via New York City, and used his free layover privileges to spend the week in the Big Apple before moving on to Sin City and then returning home. He wrote that he could have added another free layover on his return trip from Vegas to Dallas.

A final passenger knew the routing of her home airlines partners, and was able to get the perfect trip, for the miles she had with that partner.

It all boils down to the three cardinal rules for mileage usage:

  • Be creative
  • Be persistent 
  • Be informed
And for those holding frequent flyer miles with Air Canada, like Toronto Star editor Jim Byers, you'll be happy to hear that the Wall Street Journal today named it one of the most generous on the planet towards its loyalty members.

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