The best frequent flyer program for you!
Not every frequent flyer program is the same, we will equip you with some recommendation depending on your air travel behavior and goals. If you are new to the topic of frequent flyer programs, check out this article first: What is a frequent flyer program?
Should anything be unclear, or you might have specific questions - please leave a comment below, and I will try to answer them.
The holiday traveler
You are a typical holiday traveler who flies a few times a year on economy, premium economy, or discounted business class tickets. It will be unlikely for you to generate enough status miles to gain a frequent flyer status within a year. Reward miles often last multiple years and can be protected against expiry through credit cards to additional earning of miles.
You should sign up to one of your local airlines because those often have partnerships with local banks, newspapers, and other rewards programs (Cashback & Paypal) to collect miles without flying. We will be showing details on this topic in our upcoming blog posts. It is easier than you think.
The direct payer (World Cruise & Commuter)
You are a globetrotter or commuter paying for your own economy tickets, always looking for the best price to keep the cost of travel low. You won't exclusively fly with one airline alliance and as a commuter you will stay below 20 flights/year.
Unless you are a commuter on long-haul flights, it is going to be unlikely to gain enough status miles to get you a frequent flyer status. If you belong to this group, go for the rewards miles as they do not expire that quickly and usually can be protected against expiry through credit cards or additional earning of miles.
If you are a globetrotter, use our airline alliance overview and try to stay with your flights within one alliance. Ideally, select the airline alliance based on a local airline in your home country.
If you are a commuter on short-haul flights, follow my recommendation for category 1.
Should you be commuting on long-haul flights, compare the frequent flyer programs of the airlines you fly most and find the one with the lowest status miles required for the next status otherwise follow my recommendation for category 1.
The short-haul “Fly-aholic”
You fly a lot of short-haul, commuting home for the weekend or travel for business within the region. In most cases, you will stick to the same airline. Unless you are traveling on rather expensive tickets, you might struggle to gain enough status miles at the end of the year.
You have two options: Focus on an airline that offers the next status by completing a minimum number of flight segments. (Lufthansa requires 30 flight segments for example)
The second option is to throw in some short-haul business class flights. This works particularly good with airlines in the OneWorld alliance. (British Airways requires 600 Status Miles/Tier Points for Silver, a return business class flight in Europe gets you up to 80 Tier Points, in comparison: Economy gets you 10-20 Tier Points)
The business traveler
You will fly business class long-haul a few times a year. Those tickets can be somewhat more expensive as your company is paying from them and certain flexibility is required. It is likely for you to gain a mid-tier status when you stick to one airline alliance. You might be in for a top-tier status if you fly expensive full-flex business class tickets. Besides, you should gain enough reward miles to trade them for a reward flight on a long-haul business class.
It will be likely for you to gain a mid-tier status. If you are after a top-tier status, look out for a frequent flyer program within an alliance that has a below average threshold for their top-tier status. Check the difference between mid and top-tier status as the effort mind not be worth it.
Should you be after reward flights, you might want to check your regional airline. Often they are more convenient when it comes to redemptions and it is easier to collect additional miles through local offers such as credit cards or subscriptions.
The frequent business traveler
You are flying a lot of business class and/or first class long-hauls, you will be ramp up a significant amount of status and rewards miles quickly.
The only recommendation I can give you is to sign up for your local airline as redemption is often more comfortable. There can be airport departure restrictions when it comes to redemptions of miles and vouchers. Friend and family are more likely to have signed up in those programs, so gifting or pooling miles can be an option too.