In 2015, some airlines will begin awarding miles based on the price paid for a ticket rather than mileage. This is a big change! And just another way to stick it to those of us who try to accrue rewards. Now we will have to work a bit harder and be a bit smarter about it.
Here are three things you can do to get the maximum miles (rewards):
1. Sign up for an airline credit card. But be sure to do this when they are offering bonus offers, such as sign up miles and free companion tickets or such. Yes, there is an annual fee but you do get a lot in exchange IF you fly much or plan to use miles to take a trip to Australia or Africa or such. Some typical perks include priority boarding and free checked bags.
2. Pay attention to special offers, such as deeply discounted advance fares (airfare wars) and upgrades. Sign up for Bing Travel Alerts or any other service that alerts you when fares drop, such as www.thepointsguy.com and www.airfarewatchdog.com.
3. Join a reward program as loyalty really does pay off. You can get elevated to elite status after so many miles, which entitles you to more privileges, such as access to first class lounges and bonus miles. If there is an airline you normally fly with, this is the logical choice. If you fly different airlines according to fares, pick one that is a member of a good alliance so you can take advantage of that. I prefer Star Alliance over One World, so when US Airways merged with American Airlines and switched from Star Alliance to One World, I switched airlines and rewards programs. No matter which airline and reward program you choose, pay attention to periodic offers, such as chances to buy miles and get the same amount in free (bonus) miles. This is a great way to get a lot of miles fast!