5 Costly Mistakes to Avoid when Redeeming Reward Points of your Frequent Flyer Program


Are you a member of a frequent flyer program? Have you built a “nest egg” of reward points and looking to redeem it? Are you getting the most value out of your miles or are you making these costly mistakes? Find out here.

Redeeming your frequent flyer miles for free tickets for an upcoming trip is fun, exciting and feels pretty rewarding. However, do you know that there are “good” and “bad” ways to redeem your miles?

In fact, even seasoned travellers slip up when they redeem their hard-earned points. The value you gain from your miles is directly related to how you spend them. Without understanding the basics of earning and redeeming miles, you could end up paying more for your “free air ticket.”

Check out the list of the common mistakes made by rookie travellers when they redeem reward points and tips on how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Redeeming a Large Number of Miles for a Domestic Economy Ticket

It’s a common mistake made by most first-timers. As soon as you build your miles, you get eager to spend it and redeem it for domestic tickets. Domestic airfares are comparatively cheaper, and you could easily pay for it out of your pocket.

Before you redeem your reward points, make sure to check the value on a per-mile basis. For instance, when you use 25,000 miles for a 5000 rupees worth ticket, the cost per mile is just 0.2 rupees per mile. On the other hand, spending the same 25,000 miles for a 20,000 worth last-minute ticket makes more sense and offers you better value.

Mistake #2: Spending Your Reward Points on Consumer Goods

You would have come across advertisements on airline websites asking you to spend your miles on iPhones, iPads, Kitchen appliances and much more. The problem with these redemptions is that you exchange your reward points at a lower value than that of an air ticket. This is advantageous to the airline and not for you.

Unless and until you get the opportunity to spend your reward points on a rare experience or goodie, don’t use your reward points for anything other than air tickets.

Mistake #3: Letting Your Accumulated Points Expire

This is a common mistake that even expert travellers make. You earn points, forget about it, and when you check after a period of 12 to 18 months, your points have expired.

Don’t make this mistake! Check into your program frequently and keep a tab on the expiration date. Redeem your points before you lose them forever and have to start from scratch again.

Mistake #4: Spreading Your Reward Points Across Carriers

This is another classic mistake made by rookies. Building your frequent flyer miles doesn’t work for people who don’t stick to a particular airline. Do your research, pick your favourite carrier and stick to them for life. This helps to build your elite status at the carrier.

For instance, if you’re flying Jet Airways today, Indigo the next day, then you’re wasting your chance of building frequent flyer reward points in your account. Building brand loyalty is the cornerstone of all frequent flyer reward programs. Make use of this and let it work to your advantage.

Mistake #5: Not Earning Additional Miles by Shopping/Staying/Dining at Partners

All frequent flyer programs have a huge list of partners where you can earn extra reward points. This includes restaurants, hotels, online shopping portals, credit or debit cards and several others. Whenever you shop, dine, stay or swipe your card at any of these partners, you earn and add reward points to your frequent flyer program. Check out the list of available partners and make use of these additional points to earn, “free flights.”

Frequent Flyer Reward Programs are an excellent way to “Spend less, and Travel more.” Make use of the hacks mentioned above and avoid these costly mistakes, to get the most out of your miles.