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Are airline rewards points still worth buying?

If you are a frequent flyer, signing up for an airline reward scheme is a great idea. [...]

If you are a frequent flyer, signing up for an airline reward scheme is a great idea. Whether it be jetting off for a city break in Europe, or traveling across the country to visit a family member, if you’re flying, you can also earn air miles.

However, since Covid-19 forced the world to a standstill, it made the aviation industry pause with it. In many parts of the world, only essential travel was permitted and the travel industry was in danger. Since things are slowly starting to recover, airlines are starting to entice travelers to fly again.

But, are airline rewards points still worth buying?

What are airline miles and credit card airline reward points?

If you are a frequent flyer, you can sign up for an airline reward system or loyalty programs. Most airlines have them, such as American Airlines and Alaska Airlines, which offer points and miles the more you fly with them.

These can then be redeemed for various perks, such as discounted flights, upgraded to first-class or business class, and sometimes hotel stays.

Also, some credit card offers include airline rewards. For example, the American Express credit card offers the availability to earn points that can be later exchanged for air miles. Meaning that you can earn points per purchase.

Using air miles in the current climate

Buying airline miles, even in the current climate, is usually safeif just kept in your account.

However, if you buy airline reward points, it is worth checking with the credit card companies or the airline to see how your points would be affected if anything happened. 

Some credit cards also might have an expiry date as to when you can redeem your points.

Programs may have a small window of time in which you can use your points. This can be problematic as we are unsure as to when flights will resume more widely

However, it’s good to be reassured that the rewards systems will still be there in the future. Don’t feel like you have to rush – travel hacking isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

What happens if the flight is canceled? 

If an airline cancels your flight that was booked with points, they should offer the alternative of a refund for the points and any flight vouchers used, such as 2-for-1 companion tickets. 

What is offered in recompense will vary between countries and airlines. You can read more about your options for the US, UK, Canada, and Australia

The final verdict on airline miles

Buying miles can still be a good idea, as you will have a better chance of making use of them post-pandemic – especially when airlines may have to introduce aggressive offers to entice the flying public back. 

Our advice is to check with your credit card provider or airline to see what your points are worth and how they may be affected by the pandemic. 

Whatever happens, we hope to see you back in the sky very soon.

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Laura Bartlett

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