Airfare 101: Frequent Flyer Programs

by Emma Hackwood
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A frequent-flyer program is a loyalty program offered by many airlines around the world. Points earned are usually based on the distance flown and can be redeemed for not only free travel on flights, but also towards hotels, cars and, in some cases, vacation packages. As airfare experts, we know a lot about each program and how they can benefit our customers. So we’ve put together some tips on how to choose the right program, and what to know before you enroll.


Choosing the Right Program

The best thing you can do to maximize the benefits of a frequent flyer program is to choose one program and use it exclusively. Benefits continue to increase the more you travel and, in addition to earning points, regular travellers can attain a higher ‘status’. This can come with added benefits such as lounge access, upgrade credits, and priority service levels.



Consider the following factors to make the choice easier:

–> Where do you fly most often?

–> Which airline, or alliance, offer the most flight options?

Frequent Flyer Airline Programs


–>If you don’t travel often, choose a program that allows you to earn in other ways, such as purchases or with your credit card.


Each airline has it’s own frequent flyer program. When considering which airline to sign up with, remember that most programs will allow for equal accrual on most alliance partners. In this case, make your decision based on which airline you feel you are most likely to redeem travel with.


Redeeming Points

The best part of earning points with a frequent flyer program is using them towards free travel. As mentioned above, many programs allow you to redeem points for rewards other than flights, such as hotels, cars, and package vacations. In addition, you can also use points towards upgrading an already booked trip. Most travellers find it more afordable to purchase an economy class ticket and use their points to upgrade to a business class seat.


Alternative Programs

Some airlines such as WestJet and Porter, allow you to collect airline dollars or points based on the value of type of ticket purchased. As with most other programs, the points are only credited after the purchase ticket is fully flown.



For more information about frequent flyer programs, or suggestions on how you can earn more points on your next vacation, contact a Flight Centre Travel Consultant by calling 1-877-967-5302, visiting your closest store, or connecting with us online.