Image courtesy of Seth Miller
Seth Miller says "the value of the points is relatively small in small volumes."
After interviewing eight of the greatest runners of all time, we've gathered a slew of excellent tips that will help readers during peak travel season.
These fliers have criss-crossed the globe countless times, run their own travel-focused blogs and have the million or so miles to show for it. What's more, they know a thing or two about getting to elite status faster.
Don't focus too much on points. It's generally a bad idea, Seth Miller tells Business Insider. "The value of the points is relatively small in small volumes, so an infrequent traveler is unlikely to ever accrue enough to really cash in big.
"Focusing on having a better trip on the flight you're actually taking makes a lot more sense," he says. "And that can mean even paying a few dollars extra to avoid a connection, get better flight times or get an airline with more legroom or better in-flight entertainment."
Never books flights over the weekend. "Airfare sales generally appear on Tuesdays and Wednesdays," says Darren Booth, who reviews the coolest VIP lounges for CNBC and his own blog, FrequentlyFlying. "Avoid booking flights over the weekend as 1) availability at the cheapest rates can often be restricted and 2) those sale fares have ended."
Start using ITA Software's Matrix search. "I can't say enough about ITA's airfare search for aspiring mileage runners and travel hackers," says Michelle Singh, the stay-at-home mom and private pilot who blogs at milespointsandmartinis.blogspot.com.
"Learn how to use it and love it, but also be creative. If you're looking to earn miles, try to add in an extra segment when you can to pick up more miles and never travel in a straight line.
And "if you're redeeming miles, consider doing a stopover (or two) to get more value out of your ticket," she adds. "Think you're limited to just one stopover on an award booking? Technically a stopover is anything over 24 hours, but a long layover, say like 18 hours, is still a great way to see a new city."
Check out our primer on ITA routing codes.
Maximize fares to rack up more miles. "I will choose a flight with two or even three segments instead of a direct flight (as long as it’s equal or lower cost)," Sarah Jones says. "Or I will change hotels during a trip to get multiple stays. Most of my classic mile running is tagged onto the end of a planned business trip."
Jones is a corporate trainer who blogs at Road Warriorette.
Book direct flights strategically. "By including a stop or two you can greatly increase your earned miles often without paying much (if any) extra," the Frequent Miler blogger, Greg Davis-Kean, says. "In this way, you have a chance of earning elite status without paying for extra flights."
Never spring for the lowest fare. "It's best to look at the full picture from a site like ITA Software or Hipmunk and logically think through the options for what will practically work for the entire trip rather than booking the lowest fare that pops up," says Stefan Krasowski, who blogs at RapidTravelChai. "For example, the lowest fare may be $10 cheaper but arrive at midnight when there is no public transportation and a taxi may cost $100."
Always credit your miles. "Don't forget to credit your miles from different partners to one airline's program if you can," HackMyTrip blogger and PhD grad Scott Mackenzie tells Business Insider.
"You can travel on United Airlines or US Airways and still credit to United's MileagePlus. You can travel on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, or Delta AIrlines and still credit to Alaska's Mileage Plan.
"And if you can pay $10 or $20 more to choose a partner that credits to your preferred program, you will be much more likely to earn elite status and get that money back through waived fees and shorter lines."
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