And, finally, you want to pay attention to the little things – the tiny print at the bottom or on the back of the enrollment form. Therein expect to find quite a few key terms and conditions, such as:
- It may be your membership, but it’s the airline’s program — hence, they own it. In addition, according to many airlines, miles and points do not represent property of the owner; in short, you don’t really own them.
- Every airline has some restrictions. These may include blackout dates and/or limited seating availability. The airlines plainly state that at any given time, you cannot count on any award being available.
- Airlines only count miles from origination to destination. If your plane stops along the way to your final destination, these are not recorded as segments. You’ll only receive mileage for the “point A to point B” distance. Also, airlines will not give mileage for voluntary changes in mid-flight — for example, if you voluntarily changed from a direct flight to a segmented one.
- If your flight is cancelled, you won’t be credited with the original flight’s miles. Airline policies regarding rebooking vary. When the original airline rebooks you, it won’t automatically credit the rebooked flight as miles to your account even if the cancellation is caused by the airline’s machinery (or any other technical problem on their end of the deal). For example, if your flight on United is cancelled and United rebooks you on Delta, United may not automatically award you Mileage Plus miles for the Delta flight. However, for many airlines, awarding mileage to the customer’s account using the rebooked passage is situation-dependent, and may take into account how far you are willing to push for your miles.
- Most airlines offer “fee free” enrollment, but there will probably be an assortment of fees later. A fee may be charged for mileage redemption, accounts with no recent action, lost or stolen tickets, etc.
When you travel using alliance carriers, the miles are credited and can be used interchangeably. This allows rapid accrual of miles so you can reach elite status quickly and receive the extra awards at that level.
I will continue with how to redeem miles next week.