Airline reward programs might not be purpose built to confuse and confound, but even the most bloody-minded bureaucrat couldn't come up with more arcane rules and more plentiful exceptions to those rules. Still, studious frequent fliers find that it is worth their while to wade into the sea of red tape. There is no sweeter feeling than getting perks and paying with miles and no better way to get even with an airline for making you keep track of them.
Here are four tips for travelers looking to receive their just rewards.
When a flight hasn't sold out at least a week before it's scheduled, the airline will often open up a handful of first- or business-class seats for a bargain-basement number of miles. And even if you've already purchased a reward ticket, you can re-ticket it at the new rate and get a mile refund. "You might have to pay a fee, but you might also be saving thousands of miles," says Brian Kelly of the website thepointsguy.com. Create an alert at expertflyer.com, which will notify you when rewards seats open up on an upcoming flight.
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