Some people will do almost anything to rack up frequent-flier miles. But even those who do almost nothing can benefit from e-commerce loyalty programmes that offer airline-mile rewards.
It`s simple: Join an online rewards program, shop online through the program, and you`ll get airline miles (or points that you can exchange for airline miles) every time you buy. In some cases, you can also score points for receiving targeted e-mail advertising, for visiting participating Web sites, and for referring friends to the programme.
You might have stumbled upon rewards programs when shopping online, but you should compare offers before signing up. Some airlines have their own online shopping sites that offer one to five miles per dollar spent; redtagoutlet.com (Northwest), Mileage Plus Shopping (United), and SkyMiles Shopping (Delta) are examples. These sites make it easy to consolidate mileage awards with the airline with which you already have miles.
Some online reward programs, like ClickRewards, offer a larger selection of participating merchants and partner with up to 10 airlines for mileage rewards. You earn points or miles through the program at a varying rate of points per dollar spent. MyPoints is another popular “points for purchase” site offering discounts on a variety of products including movie tickets, restaurants, and travel discounts.
There are some catches. The programs surveyed had a lag time of up to 10 weeks to credit mileage to your frequent-flier account. Unless you`re a plan-way-ahead kind of person, this could cramp your travel style.
Programs like ClickRewards and MyPoints state in their agreements that they have the right to terminate a membership at any time, for any reason, such as inactivity for 12 months; you could lose any unredeemed points.
ClickRewards does send you a notice 90 days before termination. Also, ClickRewards and MyPoints require that you earn a minimum number of points (250 and 750, respectively) before you can redeem them for mileage.
Keep in mind that airline-mileage rewards are like stock market paper earnings: They don`t mean anything until you cash them in (check out www.FrequentFlier.com for a great overview of frequent-flier programs, tips, newsletters, and more). But if you`re a true Web shopper, online rewards are a great way to fly.