When you rank the perks of business travel, accumulating frequent flyer miles is surely near the top of the list. Flight by flight, segment by segment, your stockpile of miles builds—tallying up to reach one awards flight, then another. With all those frequent flyer miles, you might be wondering how to make the most of cashing them in. Not to worry! We’ve come up with a few ideas.
Plan for your elite status
Remember that list of business travel perks you were making? Aside from accumulating frequent flyer miles, all that time up in the air also helps you gain (or maintain) elite status—AKA, the perk of all perks. But getting elite status doesn’t happen by accident; it often takes some careful planning to book flights that will tick all the boxes on your status requirements. Thankfully, when you’re booking a flight with Hipmunk, you can filter your results to know ahead of time what the estimated mileage will be for your flight.
Here’s how to do it:
- Enter your flight criteria and dates, then click search.
- Once the results load, navigate over and click the ‘Show me’ dropdown on the right, then select ‘Mileage’.
- Where applicable, you can now view each flight’s estimated mileage, award/status miles, flight segments, and more, along the far right column.
With this approach, you’ll know ahead of time how many miles you’re estimated to earn on an upcoming flight—helping you to book the flight that will not only earn you the most miles, but might also achieve your elite status for next year, too.
Book a vacation
Work hard, play hard—amirite? The very reason you have said frequent flyer miles is your dedication to business travel, so why not celebrate your hard work by using those miles for a vacation? If this thought hadn’t already crossed your mind, fear not! We have plenty of travel inspo to help you decide where to go—and when to go. Want to explore the US? September is the best month to travel in 2019 if you’re hoping to stretch your miles the furthest. Head to cities like Fort Lauderdale or Savannah for major savings off peak prices—travelers will save 43% and 31% on airfare, respectively. September is also a great month to travel to Hawaii, with airfare to the Big Island and Kauai 38% lower than peak prices.
Let’s talk international travel plans. If you have enough frequent flyer miles to carry you across the Atlantic, these eight European cities are trending cheaper to visit this year. Or, stretch your dollar further in overseas destinations where there’s a favorable currency exchange rate.
Make a donation
Already have your 2019 travel plans booked? Feeling charitable? You can donate your airline miles to organizations like Make-A-Wish to help grant the wishes of children with life-threatening diseases, or the American Red Cross to help volunteers and staff travel to critical areas.
Each November and December, our friends at TripIt partner with Make-A-Wish to host a miles donation drive. So if the time isn’t right right now to donate miles, keep TripIt in mind when the holiday season rolls around.
Shop ‘til you drop
Speaking of the holiday season, you can use your miles to get a head start on your shopping. Some airlines offer the ability to use miles to make purchases via their online portal. Does your travel buddy need new noise-cancelling headphones? Maybe you want to give your mom a gift card to her favorite retailer? These gifts, and lots more, can be purchased using frequent flyer miles.
Whether you decide to click *send* on that vacation time request, donate your miles, or gift them to someone you love, we hope you make the most of your hard-earned miles in a way that’s meaningful to you.