As a frequent business flyer, you’re well aware of the value of frequent flyer loyalty programmes. For example, your accumulated points paying for most (if not all) flights to and from your family holidays.

However, if you’re an infrequent flyer, did you know that you too can benefit substantially from airline loyalty programmes?

Get more than just flights

Simply because you don’t fly regularly, doesn’t mean there’s no value to be gained from earning points. A case in point; besides on flights, SAA Voyager Miles can be spent on car rentals, spa vouchers, retail awards and more. You can also spend points online. Mango for instance allows you to spend your points at Tsogo Sun, Edgars and Shoprite. Kulula, in association with British Airways, allows you to earn and spend Avios; which are travel reward points that allow you to turn everyday spending into flights, hotels, etc.

Keep it in the family

A number of airlines award points to families travelling together via a ‘household’ account. These accounts group all the points together, with even children two years and older able to earn points. When selecting a programme, enquire whether it offers such an account, especially if you travel regularly as a family.

Choose your airlines

As a rule, you don’t need to fly with the same airline to accumulate those valuable earnings. For instance, as a frequent flyer with South African Airways, you may still collect points on a Mango flight because the two airlines are owned by the same group. Similarly, British Airways allows you to earn with Kulula as they’re both affiliated to One World. This arrangement includes Cathay Pacific, Iberia, Qantas, Qatar Airways, American Airlines, Japan Airlines, and more.

Stick to the programme

Loyalty programmes are continuously evolving and the choices are many. As a frequent flyer, whether you’re looking for free flights or elite status (with perks like flight upgrades, preferred check-in, airport lounges, massages, etc.), the only way you’re going to start racking up the points is via a single programme. Having a handful of points in a number of programmes is ineffective.

Alternatively, if you don’t fly often, or expect to earn most of your points through credit cards, hotels, etc., look for the programme that will give you the most flexibility and the greatest purchasing power.

Be aware of expiration dates

Nowadays, most frequent flyer programmes have expiration dates. Keep an eagle eye on your expiration date and know exactly what to do to keep your points current. For example, some programmes need you to take a flight, while others may allow you to make a purchase on an associated credit card. The last thing you need is for your programme to expire with the resultant loss of hard-travelled points.

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