I get it, this stuff is complicated. It's so worth it though! There are some fantastic tools that have emerged in recent years, helping us to know where to earn miles, because remember, you don't have to earn miles from the airline you're flying on. You have options. Here are some very user friendly, helpful tools that will ensure you're picking the best mileage program to earn with, whoever you fly...
This website is a wonderful tool, illustrating how many miles you'll earn on every different possible fare, across all the airlines you could earn with. As some of you will point out, it does not currently take into account elite status with an airline, where you will earn additional bonus miles if you have status. You can do those calculations on your own. For everyone else, and even for elites, it's a wonderful tool to see all the programs you could be earning with, how much you'd earn and more.
This is as easy as they come and it's a great "calculator", especially when deciding if taking something like the American Airlines Platinum Challenge (open to all), is feasible in the three month challenge window. Simply plug in your departure and destination point and the tool will tell you how many flying miles the trip entails. This tool isn't only great for earning, it's great for figuring out if your flight fits into certain distance charts for all airlines, where the cost in miles is based on distance. British Airways for example charges only 4,500 miles one way for flights less than 650 miles in distance. I regularly use the tool to see if I've found a flight that just sneaks in under the radar. Once you have a distance you can use the WhereToCredit calculations to figure out exactly how many miles you'll earn, assuming you're not using miles to book.
This is a paid subscription that I've mentioned but it's worth it's weight in gold. The tool will send you email alerts if, and when the seat or upgrade you're looking for becomes available. That instantly gives you a 99% advantage over every other flyer, casually looking for dates and space. You'll also be able to see how many of each fare type are available on flights, knowing if your good deal will soon expire, or if you have plenty of time. It does a lot more too...
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