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.
Upgrade with miles, not dollars.
A recent round-trip flight from New York to San Francisco on Delta cost $699 in economy and $4,117 in business class – that's six times more expensive. A cheaper way to do it: Buy the economy ticket and upgrade for a measly 25,000 miles (and maybe a small fee). The same number covers a coach ticket on that flight, so upgrading using miles amounts to paying just twice the price.
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