Frequent Flier Programs – Worth Your While?

So it’s been a good while since I’ve posted – eek! The summer flew by (no pun intended) and now it’s October. Apparently taking three master’s program courses during the short summer semester makes the time disappear.

Alas, I’m back. And, it’s that time of year when my parents say something to the affect of “So, we were thinking about going to (fill in European country here)….are you interested?”

Part of my job as the family travel coordinator is to book flights to/fro and I always ask the same question, “What’s dad’s frequent flier number?” His response, “I don’t do frequent flier programs.” And then I grumble. My mother delegated the frequent flier sign-up and number safe keeping to my sister and I years ago, so, well, we have all of her numbers handy.

Frequent flier programs may seem like a good way for the airlines to send you more spam email or collect more of your personal data. And, well, this may be true. But, the key reason to join is that when air travel goes awry, those who are in the airline’s frequent flier program are taken care of first. This is double-y true if you booked directly through the airline’s website and not through Expedia, Travelocity or a similar site.

As you earn miles, you make your way up the priority list when things get nutty – because of weather, maintenance issues, or other things that cause the flight to be cancelled or severely delayed. Additionally, those who are members of the frequent flier program may have a reduced fee on checked baggage, be allowed to board the plane sooner (so your bag actually gets a spot in the overhead bin), and get other perks like the speed lane at the TSA security point.

So, as you are beginning to plan or daydream about holiday travel, spring vacations, or a big summer 2019 trip, take a bit of time and sign-up for the frequent flier programs on airlines you are apt to fly. Not only will you get emails about their sales, it will make booking travel on the airline’s website easy and will protect you if your travel is derailed.

Travel safe!

Jenn

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