REDEEM FREQUENT FLIER MILES
Before getting started I would like to offer my congratulations
to the nominees and eventual winners of the Los Angeles Area
Emmy Awards. Earning a nomination in this tough and competitive
market is an outstanding achievement and a tribute to your
continued hard work and dedication.
Having worked with Executive Producer, Hal Eisner on this
awards show in the past, I understand how tough the demands
of putting together a top quality Emmy Awards program can
be, especially with a group of fellow producers and colleagues
sitting in the audience. Let's all take a moment when we see
the man I affectionately refer to as "Uncle Hal," and congratulate
him for his efforts on our behalf.
Turning to travel------most of you will, if you haven't already,
take a vacation in the coming weeks. Trying to find a great
destination and save a little money in the process can be
difficult. For those who travel often and belong to a frequent
flier program, it might be time to cash in some of those miles
for a free ticket. Most domestic carriers require you to earn
or accumulate 25,000 miles to be eligible for a free roundtrip
ticket in coach. In most cases, the 25,000-mile threshold
will enable you to travel in the contiguous 48 states, parts
of Canada, the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Overseas travel
or upgrades to business or first-class require additional
miles, which is a topic for another article.
Cashing in frequent flier miles can be tough, but if your
flexible with travel dates your odds improve significantly.
I belong to several frequent flier programs including American
Airlines. I monitor my frequent flier account through their
website at www.aa.com. I realized after a quick search that
I qualified for one free roundtrip domestic ticket. The timing
couldn't have been better since my wife and I are headed to
the Bahamas next month.
My next step was to search American's website for the flights
that matched the dates I wanted to fly. That was easy enough,
but I ran into a snag as I prepared to cash in those hard-earned
miles for my wife's ticket. The dates and flights I had chosen
didn't qualify for frequent flier mile redemption. Undeterred
by my initial failure, I simply changed my departure date
by one day and BAM, I was now able to exchange my miles for
that free ticket. All of this was done online without one
single phone call to an airline representative. Now lets discuss
As I stated, flexibility was the key. Simply changing my date
by one day allowed me to save $500 on a roundtrip ticket.
My wife is not a member of American's frequent flyer program,
but on American, as with most domestic carriers you are allowed
to purchase a ticket with your frequent flier miles in the
name of a family member. Since I didn't have enough miles
for two tickets, I went ahead and purchased mine. Why?----because
I was able to earn more frequent flier miles. Had I purchased
my wife's ticket and used the frequent flier miles on myself,
her ticket would not have counted towards accumulating any
free miles for me. And as an added incentive, American was
offering 1,000 free bonus miles to anyone who booked on line.
So not only was I able to get 1,000 bonus miles, I earned
4,500 additional miles by paying for my ticket. As I stated
earlier, cashing in on awards isn't always easy, so here are
a few additional tips to help you accumulate and redeem those
1. Make sure when you book a flight, whether it's online,
over the phone or through a travel agent, you give them your
frequent-flier account number.
2. Manage your account online or through the statements you
receive in the mail. Your mileage will usually be credit to
your account within a month after you take the trip. Keep
all receipts and boarding passes until your account has been
3. Be flexible. Airlines impose blackout dates around major
holidays and on other heavily traveled flights. A limited
amount seats are available on each flight for frequent flier
redemption, so it's best to book early if possible.
4. Determine if there are any restrictions. Some airlines
have Saturday-night stay requirements. To find the restrictions
go online to your respective airlines website.
5. If you haven't earned enough miles, several carriers let
you purchase miles to make up the difference. Make sure the
cost of purchasing miles is worth it.
Lastly, be careful how you spend your miles. Why spend your
frequent flier miles on a flight that would cost you a couple
of hundred dollars or less. Instead, save those miles for
flights that cost you $500 or more. Coast-to-coast flights,
destinations monopolized by a single carrier or smaller airports
with higher costs are your target for frequent flier miles.
If you want to fly from Los Angeles to Hawaii, save those
miles, chances are you can find a roundtrip ticket for about
$300. But, if you fly from New York to Hawaii that's an entirely
different ballgame altogether and will probably be worth cashing
in those miles.
And the same is true if you fly from Los Angeles to Europe.
Next week, we'll discuss how to upgrade from coach to business
or first class, the amount of frequent flier miles it takes
to travel overseas and all the programs where you can accumulate
frequent flier miles without having to fly.
Did you know that several carriers, including American Airlines
allow you to earn miles by flying on other carriers? I'll
explain next week. ENJOY THE EMMYS.