In most cases frequent flyer programs are seen as the beginning of a relationship between the airline and a consumer. There are a number of
issues to consider before deciding which of such programs to choose. First and foremost, you should look at the quality ratings of the program you want to join. The easiest way to obtain information on the quality of frequent flyer programs is to familiarize yourself with a survey, like InsideFlyer's Freddie Awards. If you belong to frequent flyers, join frequent flyer program which will allow you to consolidate your miles. The chosen airline must be convenient for you, which means it should have as many flights as you need to the places you visit. It is a number one consideration, since when accrue miles and reach 25,000, you achieve the elite status - a division of the frequent flyer award programs separating frequent flyers from everyone else. This status provides you with the opportunity to earn the greatest number of privileges, points and miles possible. There are three levels of elite status: silver, gold, and platinum, with each subsequent level requiring more mileage. Provided by the elite status are a variety of benefits, including gratis miles added to the regular number, preferred boarding and lounges among others.
In addition to the rewards listed above, there exist three tiers of upgrades for frequent flyers within the levels of elite status. On the first tier a traveler may get bonus miles or a free upgrade. As soon as you enter this level, you should review the mileage required to upgrade and receive a bonus. On the second tier travelers usually receive unlimited domestic upgrades, as well as lucrative mileage bonuses. Awards for
top tier members generally include international flights, companion tickets and lounge privileges. However, while choosing a frequent flyer
program, you should keep in mind that not all of them are created equal. Frequent flyers can take advantage of WebFlyer which reviews all
frequent flyer programs and rates them, declaring then a top program.
You should also consider your patterns of purchasing renting cars, hotel rooms and shopping. Many travelers place themselves in the middle of this group: they are not frequent flyers engaged in non-flight activities that award points. If you belong to this group of travelers, compare the total reward package provided for flight and non-flight activities when choosing you frequent flyer program.
Airline alliances are another point of concern. These are business relationships, usually between US domestic carriers and foreign ones that
help schedule seamless travel. The goals of such alliances are: to offer global coverage and carry passengers using only their carriers. The
examples of such alliances include United with Lufthansa and American Airlines with British Airways. Travelers using alliance carriers should keep in mind that the miles are credited and can be used interchangeably, which allows to accrue points and reach elite status in a quick and convenient manner.