So which frequent flyer programme should I join?

Part Two in the series “How to travel the world in luxury at budget rates using loyalty schemes”

Image (c)

That’s easy – all of them. It won’t cost you a penny but will take a little time, so I suggest you go through this list and sign up to a few of the schemes each day. It may seem odd to become a member of Alaska Airlines loyalty programme but you never know when you may be able to use the points. In a recent promotion I swapped some miles I received as a sign-up bonus with an obscure airline in a country I’d never visited into the US Airways programme and received extra points as a result. There are also opportunities to trade or exhange points across schemes or into a third-party programme – more on this in a later article.

Another reason to join now is that some loyalty schemes require you to already have been a member for a certain period (US Airways is 12 days, for example) before you can buy points online in one of their special promotions – don’t get caught out here.

The major frequent flyer programmes

Aer Lingus Gold Circle

Aerolineas Argentinas Plus Program

AeroMexico Club Premier

air berlin top bonus

Air Canada Aeroplan

Air France Flying Blue

Air New Zealand Airpoints

Air Tran A Plus Rewards

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Alitalia Club Mille Miglia

All Nippon Airways ANA Mileage Club

American Airlines AAdvantage

Asiana Asiana Club

Austrian Airlines Miles & More

bmi Diamond Club

British Airways Executive Club

Cathay Pacific Airways Asia Miles

Delta Air Lines SkyMiles

Emirates Skywards

Finnair Finnair Plus

Frontier EarlyReturns

Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles

Iberia Iberia Plus

Japan Airlines JAL Mileage Bank

JetBlue TrueBlue

KLM Flying Blue

Korean Airlines Skypass


LOT Miles & More

Lufthansa Miles & More

Malaysia Airlines Enrich

Norwegian Norwegian Reward

Olympic Airways Travelair Club

Philippine Airlines Mabuhay Miles

Qantas Frequent Flyer

Qatar Privilege Club

SAS EuroBonus

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards

Swiss Miles & More

TAP Air Portugal Victoria

United/Continental Airlines Mileage Plus

US Airways Dividend Miles

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Virgin America Elevate

Wideroe EuroBonus

Note that this list and the links within it were valid as at 9 March 2014. The airline industry is a fast-moving one so changes can occur – we will do our best to keep this list up-to-date.

Managing your points

Now you’re probably wondering about keeping track of all those accounts – don’t worry, we’re way ahead of you. There are several online point management systems but I recommend AwardWallet. You can sign up for AwardWallet which will give me a bonus if you later upgrade, which is nice. But it costs you the same, so why not help us keep this site going? Anyway the free version is sufficient for most users and you can enter hotel, car rental and shopping programmes too. Once you have input the information you can access a single screen with all your points displayed, and by clicking on “Update all” you are able to check your accounts for any transactions in one go. You can also download an app for both Android and iPhone.

Watch this video for more information:

In this post we’ve explained why you should join all the frequent flyer programmes out there, provided links to them and how to manage your accounts.

That should be enough to keep you busy for a while.

In the next article in this series we’ll provide a jargon-buster to help to navigate frequent flyer terminology.

This is Part Two of the series: “How to travel the world in luxury while paying budget rates using loyalty schemes”.

Part Three is here: Frequent flyer jargon buster – what are they talking about?

Part Four is here: Frequent flyer essential concepts – what you need to know

You can read the introduction here

Part One is here: The basics: What is a frequent flyer scheme and why should I care?

We hope you enjoy this series – if we have missed anything out or you have questions or comments please do let us know in the box below – and make sure you sign up for email updates or subscribe to the RSS feed by using the links on the right so you don’t miss a thing from Grown-up Travel 


Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

Articles: 1280


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.