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You know something interesting? I have been flying since 1993 when I took my first flight to New Mexico. It was great but of course very nervous. Everything about flying was different including the chance to earn a free flight by being a frequent flier. When I went to college I really became a frequent flier with my college basketball team and I used my US Air mileage account which was fairly new. There were no rules at the time that governed the NCAA and earning free miles for flights. Now there is a penalty if collegiate players do use miles for personal flights. Earning mileage points and frequent flyer bonuses is easy only if you remember. Not only can you earn miles on flights that you’ve taken but as of today 2008, if you have a bank account or visa credit card that allows flyer bonuses on every dollar spent it could had up to great free flights worldwide. Not only that, car rental, hotel night stays, purchases at particular online shops.

Also, if you have a business or company it is best to get a credit card like American Express or Visa to accumulate miles on your large purchases. I have some friends that sell on Ebay.com and purchase equipment up to $15,000 and over. You can imagine the amount of points that they gain using this method. There is nothing illegal about it, just smart ways to earn free flights or award gifts. The best thing about earning gifts is that you can donate the miles if you feel fit or transfer miles to family and friends. However, the worst thing that you could do is go without using the miles and any miles unused, normally cannot be carried over. Some frequent flyer programs only allow miles for a year and some many more years.

Here are my top 5 frequent flier programs

1. Delta Airlines (SkyMiles)
2. Miles and More – Star Alliance Partners
3. Flying Blue
4. Discover Miles
5. One World (British Airways and partners)

To conclude, keep track of your airline miles and if you have some expiring without usage don’t think about only flights there are other awards like rental car (to escape the weekend) , gifts and donating to charities and of course family or friends.