If you gaze in admiration upon George Clooney’s character in Up in the Air, hoping that you too can reap enough frequent flyer miles like a pro, you may need to start over from scratch, ditching ineffective habits and replacing them with more efficient practices.
Kiplinger offers some tips on how to make your miles lift you up rather than keep you grounded:
* Pick a program and go all-in. Frequent flyer miles are not Pokemon. It does you no good to collect ’em all, so commit to one program and stick with it. That’s not to say it’s worth grossly overpaying to buy tickets to a flight on one airline.
* Don’t let your miles expire. Miles typically expire if you let your account fester for 18 to 24 months. Plan your vacations accordingly. If travel isn’t an option, it may be worth opening another credit card that participates in the program. Before you go that route, consider the impact doing so could have on your personal finances.
* Calculate your most lucrative reward. When it comes time to cash in your miles, figure out how much you’ll save by using them on a flight. Some programs let you use your miles for other expenditures, such as rental cars, hotel stays or electronics. Don’t be suckered in to a deal that wastes your hard-earned points on something that’s not worthwhile.
6 Things You Need to Know About Airline Miles [Kiplinger] (Thanks, Tara!)