1) Attractive Reward Value: Earning and burning points for general award travel. This is the core of my frequent flyer hobby. I don’t have anywhere in mind, but I have the miles to go anywhere I choose. United, American, Southwest, British Airways, and Delta (at least when I joined 8 years ago) fit this category.
2) Unique Redemption: Limited service markets I travel or want to travel. Alaska Airlines fits this category with their extensive network north of Seattle. Hawaiian, Iceland, and Singapore also fit this group.
3) Website Search Features: Most airlines websites are miserable for booking award tickets. Many only show availability one day at a time and can only search a limited set of partner airlines. I joined Qantas and ANA to search award space on their superior websites (space should be the same across all alliance members). Then I use that information to book with my preferred program.
4) Doesn’t Play Well With Others: Frontier and Spirit flights only credit to their own programs. I feel compelled to collect miles even if all I might earn is a magazine subscription. Southwest is like this too, except their miles have value on flights.
5) Just for Fun: Something somewhere grabs my interest and I join a program. Air Berlin has flight awards that start at 2,500 points and has many free point offers. 500 points here and there quickly earn a free flight. Qatar, TAP, and Etihad also were just for fun sign ups.
|Doesn't Play Well With Others|