Get More For Your Miles
So you want to cash in your points? Your first step should be to consider the rules and regulations set by the airline (or its associates) that can affect how and when you use your miles/points. Redeeming your points is not a difficult process and can be carried out online or over the phone in most cases.
Ways To Redeem Your Frequent Flyer Points
The ability to easily redeem your hard earned reward points is an important factor in not just prior to committing to a frequent flyer program, but also whether to stick with it. The following are general ways you can redeem frequent flyer points.
One of the most popular and recommended ways to use points is to upgrade a seat to a higher class, such as premium economy or business class.
Free Flights & Points Plus Pay
If you have enough points, you can use them to pay for a flight from one destination to another. Note that you still usually have to pay surcharges, fees and taxes for your 'free' flight. Sometimes it is more economical to purchase a discounted ticket to the same destination and save your points for upgrades or other benefits.
Airlines often have restrictions on the availability of flights, with blocked out periods and limited seats for customers wishing to exchange their points for a flight. Most programs have the ability to mix points and cash when you pay for a flight. This means if you’ve fallen short of a free flight by a few hundred or thousand points, you can pay the difference.
Frequent Flyer Store & Vouchers
Most frequent flyer programs have stores where you can use points to buy a range of items. One glance at the Asia Miles iRedeem store shows thousands of rewards on offer, including electronics, appliances, apparel, beauty and entertainment. In most cases, you simply call or make the transaction online and wait for your reward to be sent to you!
One of most effective ways of using points is to redeem them for vouchers from department stores, hotels, supermarkets and more, which can then be used to purchase items at your leisure.
Not only can you earn points from partner organizations, you can spend points with them too. This means you could use your points to pay for a hire car on arrival at your destination, get tickets to a sporting event, pay for a hotel stay or any number of other benefits.
The wonderful world of frequent flyer points also includes the ability to use points for travel insurance and charities or donations,
Beware of Points Expiry
If you know it will take you a while to earn enough points to get the benefits you're after, you should opt for a program with no points expiry or one which allows you to extend or 'rollover' your points. Most programs require you to accrue and use your points within a 12-month period before it refreshes.
Qantas and Virgin let you keep your points for however long you keep your account active. This is a very important consideration when choosing a frequent flyer program, as you don’t want to put the effort in earning them if you run out of time to redeem them. Also keep in mind that while 'miles' may rollover, 'status credits' may not.
If you want to be able to transfer accumulated points to family members, note that Virgin Australia currently has the most family-friendly frequent flyer scheme. This is due to the ability to transfer points and status credits to family members under Velocity's 'family pooling' feature.
Qantas has recently caught up to Virgin Australia however, permitting four transfers of 100,000 Velocity points per year to a family member. Do remember to check the fine print for transferability limitations to family members.
There is a lot to take in with Frequent Flyer programs. Feeling a little overwhelmed? Talk to our Frequent Flyer Experts to find out which program best works for YOU, call 1300 735 896.