6 Things You Need to Know About Airline Miles

We help you untangle the details of frequent-flier programs and make your points work for you.

By Michael Stratford

1. Pick the right program. Before you sign up, assess your flying habits. If you fly frequently, you want a relationship with the airline that offers you the most convenient flights. Generally, it’s best to pick the largest carrier at your hometown airport. If you’re not sure which one it is, check the airport’s Web site to find the airline that occupies the largest number of gates. If you rarely fly, you might want to opt for a rewards card instead. These cards tend to offer lower rates, let you choose the airline and don’t have blackout dates.

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