web Musings of The Global Traveller

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Learn the basics of frequent flyer programs

Fellow nomad Chris Guillebeau has launched a guide how to use frequent flyer miles and has requested for a quick review*. I like what he does so I'm happy to oblige.

I like the guide. It covers the basics well, and includes practical, real, examples. This will save someone unfamiliar with frequent flyer programs from making simple, common, mistakes. It will also save a lot of time on researching how to get the best value out of them. All the information in the guide is available on Flyer Talk and elsewhere, but it is hard to find because you have to know what to look for and the right questions to ask - tricky.

As with real life mileage earning opportunities, the guide does have a US bias. Most of the promotions referenced are current US-based ones (although some are also available to global residents). There simply are more ways to earn much more frequent flyer miles through non-flying activity if you live in USA and/or have USA-issued credit cards than if you live in Asia-Pacific for example. Chris acknowledges this towards the bottom of his sales pitch.

If you don't know the ins and outs of frequent flyer programs, or how to earn significant sums from non-flying activities, the $49 fee can easily be recouped in time & money saved, and not only covers the guide but additional resources such as updates on significant promotions for the next 6 months.

Chris offers a guarantee so you can try it out and be refunded if it doesn't work for you.

Since the guide is targeted for non (or newly) frequent flyers there is no discussion of elite status benefits. I don't think that is a problem, but it would be nice to point out that those flying more than 1 intercontinental trip or half a dozen transcontinental trips in a year have additional factors to consider.

There is also little mention of mileage upgrades, although I understand this will be coming in an update.

* as with all my reviews I receive no reward for making the review, and also do not accept any restrictions on what I can or can't say. I simply tell it how I see it.

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