Collect points and savings!

Published
3.4.2015 - 06:00
If you travel often, you can receive great benefits from airline customer loyalty programmes. Concentrating your flights on one airline or alliance is the best strategy to collect points and incentives.

You can use larger amounts of points to pay for flight tickets, hotel accommodation, or car rentals. Points can also be used to buy various products, from luggage and bags to concert tickets, or to donate money to charities.

These benefits are available by registering as a member, buying flights, and collecting points. Most programmes also have an associated credit card partner, which enables you to grow your point balance simply by using the credit card.

It's not always easy to compare customer loyalty programmes against each other, and it might seem you'll never get enough points actually to pay for flight tickets. It could also be difficult in practice to concentrate flights well enough. In fact, many have filled their wallets with a wide assortment of cards, which means that each balance grows slowly.

A good tip for using your points is to upgrade travel class, which will particularly pay off on longer flights. Point collecting will also feel worth the effort when overbooking results in some passengers being upgraded from economy class to a higher one.

Most programmes consist of three to four membership levels. Higher levels offer access to lounges, special security check lines, and the possibility to carry extra baggage.

The highest level requires a certain amount of flight points within a specific tracking period.

Points based on the cost of flights

The amount of points awarded is usually based on the travel class, that is, the price of your ticket. When using the points, the required quantity is typically calculated according to the length of the flight. Comparison may not be easy for various reasons, such as different campaigns.

If you want to use your points for flights, a return ticket is always more economical than a one-way ticket. Even if you pay for the actual flight with your points, you still have to pay for any taxes or airport fees that can sometimes amount to a higher sum than the flight. On European flights, it could be more convenient to use any offers that might be available than your point balance to purchase flights.

National airlines usually belong to alliances, and the individual airlines' customer loyalty programmes have been integrated into the programmes of these alliances. Regardless of the card you carry, you can collect and use points with all airlines of the same alliance. Of the airlines flying to and from Finland, Finnair, Flybe, and British Airways belong to the oneworld alliance, and SAS and Lufthansa to Star Alliance.

Many economy airlines have their own simplified customer incentive programmes. For example, Norwegian's Reward programme allows you to use points to pay for flights, baggage, and seat bookings.