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How often do you fly domestically and do you accrue miles?

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Soulive

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SWMBO travels about 8 times per year domestically for work. She just started getting flier miles last month. How long until they start to pay off?
 
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I fly as a commercial passenger about the same amount or perhaps slightly less often. I only have an Alaska Airlines frequent flyer card, so I can only accrue miles with Alaska partners (about 50% of the time). After 6-7 years, I've only recently accumulated enough miles to redeem for anything worthwhile.

If I signed up for several frequent flyer programs, I could probably have doubled the amount of free trips/upgrades available to me.
 

ShortSnoutBrewing

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Well, depends on how far she's traveling. The carrier she's flying should have a break down of their rewards program and what she gets for each flight, and how many miles the rewards "cost".

I have several programs I use, but AA is used the most. I'd say it took me 5-6 years to get the 25000 miles needed for a frew domestic flight. But I only flew 2 - 3 times a year and they were low mileage flights.
 

Yooper

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I used to fly more frequently, with annual or more often, trips. I used my miles internationally once, for a trip to Oaxaca Mexico, and domestically twice for trips to Florida.

The Northwest card claimed that you needed 25,000 miles to redeem for a roundtrip domestic ticket, but it never worked that way. Either the dates were blacked out (one time I called almost a year in advance and they had NO seats available on any flights in February or March at all to Florida), or required way more miles. I gave up on saving miles after my last free ticket.

Still, she may find that she can earn a free ticket, or more likely, get an upgrade, within a couple of years. My friend upgraded his trip to Hawaii to first class, which he thought was great since it was a long flight. It "only" cost him like 10,000 miles.
 
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Soulive

Soulive

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I think its with Continental because thats who she usually uses. The trips are usually within 1500 miles but some are to the west coast. We're hoping to be able to get decent upgrades...
 

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Upgrades are tough. They only block so many rewards per flight and they get used up quickly. Once you start doing like 25k miles a year, you get "silver elite" and then you get complimentary first class upgrades if a seat opens up, first come first served. The problem is, it's actually too easy to reach the elite status and everyone that travels for business has it.

A free domestic round trip "costs" about 25-35k miles. I've used them to get my wife a seat to join me on some biz trips or I use them for 3-day scuba trips down in Ft Lauderdale. I usually stay free too due to Marriott or Hilton points. Signing up for these programs just makes sense, no cost.
 

ShortSnoutBrewing

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How could I forget about the black out dates!!??! Yeah, just cause you've got the miles doesn't mean you'll be able to fly when YOU want to. I got stuck flying out on Christmas day last month from PDX to Wash, DC with a nice layover in Dallas with a mileage flight.
 

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I fly over 100k miles each year. Upgrades are plentiful for Platinum flyer. I used to have over 1/2 million miles in the account till the daughter went to college and the in-laws started using them.
 

david_42

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I've never managed to get enough miles for a free flight, even when I was flying on business 2-3 times a month. The company was doing the booking, so I couldn't focus on one program. Then there was the idiot at Hughes that decided the miles belonged to Hughes because they paid for the ticket. Never mind that there was no way to transfer the miles.
 
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It seems to me that the last best loophole is to find flights that will likely be overbooked and volunteer for the vouchers. Who has that kind of time luxury.
 

TheJadedDog

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I am a road warrior so here is the scoop:

It takes many many miles (like 25,000 or something) to earn upgrades and you have to earn those miles within a calendar year. There are several levels of benefits based on miles (like silver, gold, platinum). Once you reach a benefit level it is good for the rest of that calendar year and the next one.

The way upgrades work is this, a week or so from the flight the airline will start upgrading the members booked on the flight starting with those in the highest benefit level. If you are in the lowest level you usually don't find out about the upgrade until a few days before the flight. You can use miles to upgrade, but it takes a lot of miles and is a waste of them imo since I usually get upgraded automatically.

If your wife is only traveling 8 times a year and only going short distances it may not be enough to qualify for a benefit level, it really depends on how far she is going.

Hope that helps.
 

JVD_X

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While I know this is low compared to a lot of my compatriots I have to agree with two things I have read:

1) It is too easy to get silver status on airlines if your goal is to get free seat upgrades, but not to get that 25% mileage bonus. Besides a lot of carriers are moving to smaller planes regardless of the distance - some of which don't have more than one class, unless it is a coast-to-coast flight.

2) +2 to the Marriott program. I make enough points every year to pay for a two week vacation to Europe. Plus, you can turn those points into airlines miles with any airline. Besides I find that their service and quality is most consistent between hotel chains, something I appreciate. Yes, some other chains may have nicer rooms and whatnot but there are not as many of them and thus, I can't use my points (er... SWMBO's points :) where I like.

My wife also travels for work but she uses Hilton, which is great because we can always find an open hotel that we can stay for free. Right now we are planning a week in Phuket, and two in Europe, all on points.
 

Bobby_M

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Yeah, Continental onepass actually gives you a 50% bonus on mileage while you have elite status. I travel 8x a year for business on a reg basis but sometimes get an occassional extra. Last year it was Athens and that put me right over the 25k limite for Silver Elite.

Oh, you get to board the plane any time you want but the truth is, EVERYONE crowds the gate the moment anyone pushes the intercom button. I have to be an EAC and push my way through.

Hilton points are cool too because you also get Onepass miles for your stays.When I'm told to travel, I pick Hiltons mostly and always take Continental even if it's a few bucks more.
 

EdWort

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Bobby_M said:
I have to be an EAC and push my way through..
Yes, but Continental has a special EAC line, just for us flying EAC's. I love it! Just walk right by that big ol' line and Continental will take you next, if you have EAC flyer printed on your ticket. :D
 

EdWort

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Melana said:
Ok Ed, I've been sitting here wondering what you do for a living?
Jack of all trades for a tech company. I do Technical Sales and lots of Sales & Technical training for our large Fortune 100 customers.
 

DeathBrewer

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i travel about twice a year...usually back to visit family in the midwest. i always use Northwest Airlines (NWA, mofo) and have finally accrued enough miles to get some deals. it only took me like 4 years :rolleyes:

but i'm hoping to go to europe later in the year and they keep sending me all sorts of deals if i use up 20,000 miles or so. A couple times i've seen tickets for around $400.00. from what i saw looking around before that, i'd save around $800! pretty neat, better than the deals they give for domestic flights, anyway.
 

uglygoat

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i'd rather drive if i can. i haven't flown in almost ten years, and have no intention of doing so domestically.
 
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Soulive

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Thanks guys, good info here. I'm surprised that almost only paying members have chimed in though. Its not like this is Fight Club...
 

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What I meant was, there's something about that initial boarding announcement that causes everyone, even the A-holes in row 10 to crowd these tiny gate areas to the point where EACs like us can't even make it to the special line. I start spying the boarding passes and when I can see row 10 or something without the elite logo, I kick them in the shin and roll over their toe with my rolling carryon.
 

brauhaus

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sorry, this is late here, but i travel a few times during each month (roughly 2 or 3 times a month) and we use company issued credit cards... i dont ever seen the bill so i'm not to sure what kind of benefits we get...

i do know we get insane car rental deals... and occasionally get bumped to first class here and there.
 

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I fly somewhere around 20 - 30 times a year, but it tends to be scattered among a lot of different airlines. Nevertheless, I'm elite on two different airlines (Northwest and Frontier). Once you get to elite status, it's easier to keep.

What are you looking to do with your miles? Want free tickets? Sign up for a program, get the credit card, and use it for everything. The Northwest card I use for business expenses buys my family free flights on a vacation every year.

Want upgrades? Try to keep your flights on the same airline. Don't be afraid to ask for upgrades. I've been on flights where I was upgraded just for the asking, because I was nice, polite, and not a PITA. At 6'5", every upgrade is a treat.

Also, don't forget the programs for hotels and rental cars. Those can add up too, and Avis upgrades me nearly every time I go anywhere, because I rent from them almost exclusively.
 

EvilTOJ

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You are all a bunch of rich mofos, you know that right? Last time I flew was last year to Vegas. Time before that, out to cali to see my dad back in 199-something.

Even though I live in the vast expanse known as the Northwest, I still prefer to drive everywhere unless it'll take longer than a week to get there.
 

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I've never been on a plane. Never needed to get somewhere that fast and can't afford to go to places where I would.
 

Bobby_M

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I wouldn't do anywhere near this much flying if my company didn't say so. Some people would think it's a perk or luxury to see so many major cities across the U.S. but it's only fun the first few times. After that it's time away from home and the family.
 

srm775

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Soulive said:
SWMBO travels about 8 times per year domestically for work. She just started getting flier miles last month. How long until they start to pay off?
Here's what you do to maximize your miles:

1. Pick a carrier that you think you'll use often (i.e. the biggest at your local airport). Get a credit card that offers miles per every dollar spent (Chase has teamed with nearly all carriers I think).

2. Use that credit card for all purchases you would use cash/debit for. We're in Chicago and United is biggest, so we have a United CC and use it for all purchases of gas, groceries, etc and then just pay it off every month.

3. Find any local grocery stores, gas stations etc. that team up with that carrier to offer bonus miles for accumulated purchases. Dominicks in our area offers additional 250 United miles for every $100 spent.

Before you know it, you'll have enough miles to take pretty regular trips every year.
 

jds

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Bobby_M said:
I wouldn't do anywhere near this much flying if my company didn't say so. Some people would think it's a perk or luxury to see so many major cities across the U.S. but it's only fun the first few times. After that it's time away from home and the family.
Exactly. People who don't do the road-warrior thing sometimes see it as glamorous. For the first 5-10 trips, I can maybe see that. Afterward, it's just a pain. Even the thought of going out to our Honolulu office doesn't excite me much because (1) I'll probably have to fly through LAX, which I hate, and (2) I'll have to work while I'm there, which does not mean consuming mai tais on the beach.

Travel sucks, so you just do what you can to improve it.
 
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Soulive

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srm775 said:
Here's what you do to maximize your miles:

1. Pick a carrier that you think you'll use often (i.e. the biggest at your local airport). Get a credit card that offers miles per every dollar spent (Chase has teamed with nearly all carriers I think).

2. Use that credit card for all purchases you would use cash/debit for. We're in Chicago and United is biggest, so we have a United CC and use it for all purchases of gas, groceries, etc and then just pay it off every month.

3. Find any local grocery stores, gas stations etc. that team up with that carrier to offer bonus miles for accumulated purchases. Dominicks in our area offers additional 250 United miles for every $100 spent.

Before you know it, you'll have enough miles to take pretty regular trips every year.
Thanks! I'll look into the card. We have been using Continental every time so we haven't lost anything in that area...
 

brauhaus

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Bobby_M said:
I wouldn't do anywhere near this much flying if my company didn't say so. Some people would think it's a perk or luxury to see so many major cities across the U.S. but it's only fun the first few times. After that it's time away from home and the family.

+1, after the first few trips the allure wears off. now all I can think of is coming home to the SWMBO and 1yo.
 

DeathBrewer

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Soulive said:
Thanks! I'll look into the card. We have been using Continental every time so we haven't lost anything in that area...
i wanted to get a card from northwest, but they all charge an annual fee. i refuse to pay that crap for any credit card :mad:
 
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