a passport and boarding pass

If you think frequent flyer miles are complicated, you’re not alone. They’re literally insane. Earn points with one airline and you’ll earn a half a point for every mile you fly, bank your miles to another airline- earn a whole mile for every mile flown, go with another- they calculate your ticket based on money spent, miles flown are irrelevant. It’s complicated. Fortunately, there’s an invaluable tool which helps you always earn the most miles for the flights you take.

airplanes parked on a runwayYou Probably Already Know That You Can Earn Miles From An Airline Other Than The One You’re Actually Flying, But Just In Case…

That’s right. Just because you’re flying Airline A doesn’t mean you have to earn miles from that airline. You can earn miles from any of the airlines countless flying partners instead. This allows you to earn miles in just one mileage program, while flying many different airlines. And yep, that’s the best way to stack enough miles to get free luxurious flights. Just stick within one airline alliance or group.

a shelf with bottles of alcoholBut Each Airline Awards A Different Amount Of Miles Depending On The Kind Of Ticket You Buy, Which Gets Complicated…

Yep, back to the beginning. For the same economy ticket- one airline may give you a full mile for every mile you actually fly, others, only a fraction. Obviously we want as many miles for each ticket as possible, right?! Tickets are so much more than just economy, business or first- there are lots of different categories in each cabin. You can generally find what kind of fare you got somewhere on your booking. You’ll see something like Economy (T), which signifies a (T) fare, or Business (D) which signifies a discount business fare.

a row of seats with monitors on themSo Plug Your Fare Class Into WhereToCredit.com To See What You Could Earn From Various Airline Mileage Programs…

WhereToCredit.com is an awesome free resource which shows you how many miles your type of ticket will earn in virtually all of the possible airlines to earn miles with. This is an amazing-visual way to see what you could get by using each frequent flyer program. You may see that one program offers double, triple or even quadruple the amount of miles than another, giving you serious reason to consider using that program for your flying points earning.

a row of seats in an airplaneBut If You Have Elite Status With An Airline, Don’t Forget That The Equation Changes…

WhereToCredit is a brilliant resource if you’re flying on an airline or alliance where you don’t have elite frequent flyer status. If you happen to have frequent flyer status, the site does fail to consider any bonuses you may get for being an elite flyer. Some airlines award a 100% bonus on miles to their top elite flyers, so even if WhereToCredit says you’ll earn less, you may end up morning more via your elite status. Basically: check both, if you have elite status, if you don’t just stick to WhereToCredit.com


Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Are there other tools (besides wheretocredit.com) that you can use to determine how many miles your will receive? United is currently running a sale (CLE-LAX), $100 RT, in Basic Economy (Fare class N). pointswiththecrew.com posted an article that said “I would not credit these fares to United unless you’re going for status – you’ll only get a multiple (5x without status) of the price paid, so around 500 United miles for a roundtrip. If you credit to another Star Alliance partner like Air Canada, Singapore etc you should get around 4000 miles for a roundtrip.” However, when I use wheretocredit.com, the most miles I see are 1000 so I’m confused where they are getting this information. Can you help?

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