Frequent flyer miles: Frequently misunderstood

It was once said that there were more airline frequent flyer miles in circulation in the United States than there were dollar bills.

While this may or may not be a true, the undeniable fact is that collecting frequent flyer miles have almost become an obsession with many people.

From the airlines’ point of view, they consider that such schemes help create brand loyalty though it’s a totally separate question as to whether an airline’s reward scheme will actually ever give the recipient anything for nothing.

Cases abound whereby a “reward” ( and please note the use of the term reward where once “free” was used) seats costs more then what buying a seat at a normal fare would cost; this is due to the taxes and ancillary costs airlines still add onto “reward/free” seats!

Thus actually using frequent flyer points is starting to become something of a challenge and that explains why there are reportedly 14 000 000 000 000 unused frequent flyer points in circulation globally.

If we were to add our own thoughts to the subject, we would advise that to get the best value on redeeming them one should not look for a “free” ticket but rather to use them to upgrade on a flight. The chances of getting an upgrade are invariably better than redeeming them in any other way.

(Photo: Griszka Niewiadomski/




Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas is Managing Director of Jamadvice Travel / BCD Bulgaria, one of Bulgaria’s leading Travel Management Companies with 28 years market leading presence on the Bulgarian market.