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Most airlines have some sort of frequent flyer scheme or loyalty programme, which as it suggests, rewards those who fly with the same airline time and time again. They work by collecting points for each mile you fly which can then be used to get free upgrades and discounted tickets.
There are many benefits to being part of an airline loyalty scheme. Of course, it isn’t always the cheapest option – for example there may be an alternative airline offering a cheaper flight, however if you are someone that flies frequently then you will be able to reap the benefits throughout the year.
Perks tend to include, access to the exclusive first-class lounge, free seat upgrades and discounted or even free flight tickets. What’s more if you are part of a loyalty scheme, then you are more likely to get a seat upgrade when you check in out of the blue. So, you could go from travelling in economy to business class without having to do or say anything – what a way to start your trip!
Frequent flyer schemes tend to be free so if you are partial to a particular airline, then check out their website. Even if you don’t fly often, it’s still worth signing up!
Airline schemes are no different than your typical supermarket, store or even coffee shop loyalty card. You get points equivalent to the amount you spend. Loyalty schemes like this make you more likely to come back to that brand because you are gaining more than just the purchase itself.
Airlines point schemes can work in two different ways. Either you receive points per mile or you get points per pound spent. So, the longer the flight duration or the more money you spend, the more points you can earn. This means that whilst another airline could offer a flight for less, the fact you can gain points may sway you to stick with the airline who’s scheme you are part of.
Nowadays miles aren’t just the only way to get your points up. You can earn them by using a credit card associated to the airline or online shopping in your everyday high street stores via the airlines shopping page.
Once you’ve accumulated enough points, you will probably spend most of them on flights, whether that’s getting free tickets or discounted fares. However, you can also spend points on seat upgrades, hotel stays, car rentals, or shopping through high street brands who are affiliated with the airline.
Most loyalty scheme are pretty self-explanatory and there aren’t really anyways to save money beyond the points themselves. However, there are a few things to bear in mind, to ensure you get the most out of the programme:
Shop around: Do your research to find which airline offers the most. Whilst all loyalty schemes offer benefits, you need to find who offer the best value. For example, two flights with different airlines could cost you the same amount of points, however if you were to purchase them, they may not cost the same. So, you’re better off using your points on the flight that would have cost you more as it’s better value.
Opt for business class: If you are using points to pay for a flight, then bear in mind tax is not included, so you must pay for that on top of any purchase. The amount of tax you pay for an economy seat is considerably higher than that of business class, making business class a much better option should you want to use your points.
Buy tickets directly from the airline: Whilst comparison and discount sites can find you a bargain flight, if you do want to gain points for flying then you need to purchase off the airline’s site directly. This does mean you may spend more, however bear in mind that airlines do have sales in January and as the summer holidays approach so make the most of it when this does happen.
You have to weigh up what’s more important to you. Would you rather spend a little extra and gain points which you can use later down the line or would you rather just a cheaper flight? If you’re someone who travels once a year the latter may be the better option. However, if you’re a frequent flyer then these loyalties schemes can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Shop through the airline: If you are part of a loyalty scheme, then before you go to do some online shopping, check out the airline’s shopping page to see what discounts they have on there. Not only could you save some money on some of your favourite high street stores but you’ll gain points at the same time!*Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices. This code entitles you to an additional 5% off your policy, and is a discount from the base price, not including the additional cost of optional extensions or any additional medical premium.
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