I don’t know about you, but I love to study faces as I’m communicating. I find that quite often they say far more than someones verbal communication. When I explain that the best way to fly on airline A is with miles from airline Z, the look is often priceless. Here’s my best attempt at explaining this treacherous issue…

a group of airplanes parked at an airport

Hopefully, we understand that airlines have partners, generally in the form of alliances. It’s for that reason that you can earn miles on one airline while flying as many as 20 different airlines. When it comes to using miles, it’s the same. You can use miles from airline Z, let’s say American Airlines, to fly on airline A, let’s say Japan Airlines. 

a bed in a room

The key concept is that miles don’t work the same way as cash. It doesn’t matter how much the ticket currently costs, it matters where your destinations fit into each airline’s proprietary chart for using miles. For example, lets think business class from New York to Tokyo using the above airlines. I could use roughly 20 different types of miles from within the OneWorld alliance to book a flight on Japan Airlines. Choosing the right one is the important part. Using British Airways miles, the flight round trip in business class would require a whopping 210,000 miles. Awful! Using American Airlines miles? Just 100,000 round trip, less than the cost of one way with BA. 

a large airplane on the tarmac

Your job as a consumer is to figure out the smartest miles to collect for your personal needs. I even have a post to get you started with some inspiration. Each alliance and each airline has it’s own “sweet spots” where one airline may require significantly less miles than the next. Figure out the best miles for your flights, collect them, and then fly on airline Z, even if you’re collecting miles from airline A. You can after all…

As Always, Get In Touch: GodSaveThePoints@gmail.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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