There’s no better way to cut down on travel costs than to join a frequent flyer program and start earning miles. Since almost every airline has a frequent flyer program, it’s hard to tell which ones offer good value for those points.
That’s why I’m sharing the top 5 frequent flyer programs to join in 2021. When you join, you not only get welcome bonuses, but these airliners offer great value for your hard-earned points.
5 best frequent flyer programs of 2021
When comparing these programs, I looked at the value earned for travelers and the actual value of the rewards. Also, it’s important to consider that these programs allow you to transfer points for hotel booking, car rentals, and merchandise. Therefore, the value of these points is pretty high, even during the pandemic.
1. American Airlines AAdvantage
If you’re looking to earn lots of miles from different services, the AAdvantage program is top-notch. You can earn miles from over 1000 partner companies. Although AAdvantage now has a revenue-based earning system, the fact that you can earn miles through so many partners easily makes it worth joining. I also want to mention that American Airlines has the most promotions where you can earn bonus miles and buy points.
The only inconvenience is that points are forfeited if your account is inactive for 18 months.
2. Delta Airlines Sky Miles
Delta has one of the best programs because their miles never expire. Therefore, you can keep saving them up for a costly flight or vacation package. It’s easy to earn Elite status by simply using their credit card and points cards. You have to spend $3,000 annually to reach Elite status and then you can book flights on Delta or partner airlines. The advantage is that Delta has a large fleet that covers both domestic and international destinations and you can book those with your points.
One disadvantage is that Delta doesn’t publish their awards charts so it’s hard to figure out how many points you need for a specific destination.
3. United Airlines – Mileage Plus
If you want to fly to more international destinations, the Mileage Plus program is one of the best since it covers 1,100 destinations. It’s easy to earn miles because United Airlines has dozens of participating partners and you earn points on all their flights too. If you reach their top-tier Elite status, you can get a maximum of six upgrades per year. This is a revenue based program and you need 25,000 qualifying points for Elite status.
The disadvantage of the program is that miles expire in 18 months if there is no account activity.
4. Alaska Airlines – Mileage Plan
Alaska’s mileage plan is different because you earn miles for the number of miles you fly, not the cost of the flight ticket. This is a huge advantage, especially for frequent fliers because you can earn more miles faster, and reaching Elite status is easy. Compared to other programs, the Mileage Plan has one of the best award charts in the world. You can also book flights on popular partner airlines such as Emirates, BA, American, Cathay, and more!
The one thing to watch out for with this program is that there are many blackout dates for reward travel.
5. Lufthansa Group Miles & More
Miles & More is Europe’s largest frequent flyer loyalty programme. You can earn lots of points on all Lufthansa group airlines and their partners (airline & non-airline) too. This program is recommend for those who like to travel frequently between North America and Europe. Lufthansa organizes many promotions and bargains where you can book flights for half the points.
This program’s disadvantage is that it’s difficult to reach Elite member status. You need to earn 35,000 status miles or book 30 flights per calendar year. That’s hard with the current COVID pandemic.
To start earning miles, you will sign up for credit cards and this way you can earn tons of miles and points for your next amazing trip!
2021 is a great time to join a frequent flier program because airlines are trying to attract new customers and offering lots of welcome bonus miles!
Do you have lots of miles and want to get value out of them? Why not sell miles for cash?