You can earn Airline Miles not only by flying, but also by renting cars, staying at hotels, using certain credit cards, or shopping through Airline Shopping portals. However, in this article, we will focus solely on where to credit the Airline Miles you’ve earned from flying.
Use your points or miles to book business and first class flights
Before we discuss where to credit your airline miles, let’s first explore where you can use them to book award flights. It can be quite challenging to find available award space, especially if you’re trying to book for a larger group of 2, 4, or even 8 people.
Therefore, we highly recommend to sign up to the newsletter of our friend Spencer. His website is called StraightToThePoints, he will send alerts via email when he finds good business or first class award spaces. You can sign up for free here.
Let’s start with our Tutorial:
The three biggest Airline Alliances
Oneworld, Skyteam and Star Alliance.
To maximize the number of miles you can earn, it’s best to register with all three airline alliances. Typically, one program per alliance is sufficient, except for Oneworld. We will come to all the details later one.
Keep in mind that for many programs, your miles will expire if you remain inactive for an extended period of time. Be sure to check the expiry date, as you don’t necessarily need to fly to earn and maintain your miles. Often, making a purchase through their online shops is sufficient to keep your account active.
Where to credit Airline miles?
Your choice will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
a.) Are you looking to earn a maximum number of miles, and use them for “free” flights ?
“Free” because no flights are really for free. Keep in mind that when using your miles for an award flight, you’ll still need to pay taxes. While these taxes can be relatively low for some programs, they can be quite high for others.
b.) Are you looking to achieve a status at a Frequent Flyer program?
We will focus on the mid-tier status that gets you priority check-in and lounge access.
Each Airline Alliance, and even every program within the alliances, are calling this status by a different name.
Oneworld calls this status Sapphire.
British Airways Silver, Finnair Gold or Iberia Oro are all equal to Oneworld Sapphire.
Star Alliance calls this status Star Alliance Gold.
Turkish Airlines Elite, Asiana Diamond, Miles and More Senator are all equal to Star Alliance Gold.
Skyteam calls this status Elite Plus.
For most of their different programs, that’s Gold.
Which Airline belongs to which Alliance?
Before you begin earning miles, it’s important to determine which airline alliance your preferred airline belongs to.
- Oneworld members are: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, Royal Air Maroc, S7 Airlines and SriLankan Airlines, as well as Fiji Airways as a connect partner and some 30 affiliated airlines.
- Skyteam members are: Aeroflot, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Aeroméxico, Air Europa, Air France, Alitalia, China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Czech, Delta Air Lines, Garuda Indonesia, Kenya Airways, KLM, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudia, TAROM, Vietnam Airlines, XiamenAir
- Star Alliance members are: Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, THAI, TAP Air Portugal, Turkish Airlines, and United.
For a detailed breakdown of how many miles you can earn for each booking class on various airlines and programs, check out WhereToCredit. While the website may not be the most user-friendly or straightforward, it’s a valuable resource.
After analyzing various programs, we’ve compiled our recommendations for where to credit your airline miles.
When you fly with an Oneworld member, the miles you will earn to redeem for flights later on are called Avios.
For flights with Oneworld members, you will earn Avios and as well Tier Points. You will need those Tier points to obtain the different statuses.
a.) Earning a maximum of Avios to get “free” flights
We would choose British Airways Executive Club, but not only British Airways Executive Club.
Taxes are often much lower for redemptions with Iberia Plus and Aerclub than with British Airways. Furthermore, the on- and off-peak calendars differ.
The good thing about Oneworld is that you can move your Avios from British Airways Executive to Iberia and to Aerclub. You can find all details on how to combine your Avios from one to another program here.
We always recommend registering with all three of those programs within Oneworld.
b.) The easiest way to acquire a mid-status with Oneworld
British Airways Executive Club is your way to go, it could be the easiest way to earn a status from all airline alliances out there.
You will need 600 Tier Points within one year to obtain the Silver status, which will grant you access to business class lounges each time you fly with an Oneworld member, no matter in what class you fly.
However, at least 4 flight segments with British Airways itself have to be flown. If you live in Europe, that shouldn’t be a problem. If you live in North America, this might not be that easy, except you visit Europe at least once a year.
A Business Class flight from Europe to the US (or vice versa) via London will already earn you 40+140+140+40, so 360 tier points in total. If you are flying to the US twice a year, you will already receive the Silver status.
Furthermore, one Transatlantic flight and a tier point run could also work for you.
A flight to Helsinki via London, from a European city, will earn you 120 tier points each way in Business class. You will already have the 240 tier points missing becoming a Silver member, in addition with one Transatlantic flight.
The Miles you earn are called Miles or Points, depending on the program.
a.) Earning a maximum of Miles to get “free” flights
SAS Eurobonus is/was probably the best choice for most people. You will earn 100%-200% Miles when you fly in business class with most Star Alliance members. With Miles-and-More, you will usually only get 4 Miles per € spent.
Another advantage with SAS Eurobonus is that you can create a Point Sharing group. You have the possibility to collect miles together with your family or even with friends. The issue with SAS is that, post-pandemic, it’s really hard to book award flights with other Star Alliance members besides SAS. Because of this, we’ve decided not to earn miles with SAS anymore and, instead, focus on Miles-and-More.
With Miles and More, you can meanwhile create a family account as well.
Taxes are low as well when you redeem your miles with SAS Eurobonus, compared to some other Star Alliance programs. But due to the lack of award seats, this program became useless somehow.
b.) The easiest way to acquire a mid-status with Star Alliance
You have a few options here. To obtain Star Alliance Gold, you need 40.000 miles within 1 year with Asiana Miles or Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles, flown with any Star Alliance member. For Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles be advised that you will get no Miles for Lufthansa tickets in the cheapest business class tickets, booking class P.
You will get Star Alliance Gold even for only 36.000 Miles with Aegean Miles + Bonus, but you require at least 6 flight segments with Aegean or Olympic Air.
With Egyptair Plus you will need 60.000 miles, but with their family account, all the miles earned by the family are directly credited to the main account holder, and these miles count for elite status.
a.) Earning a maximum of Miles to get “free” flights
Korean Air Pass is probably the best program to earn a maximum of miles, as you earn at least 100% of Miles always when you fly in Business Class with a Skyteam member.
For example, you will get more Miles with Flyingblue when you fly with Delta Air Lines, as when you would fly with their own airlines KLM or Air France.
The same is true for Delta Skymiles. You get more Miles when you are flying with KLM or Air France as with Delta Air Line itself.
When it comes to redeeming your Miles, FlyingBlue is for sure the best program when you live in Europe, and they have regular Promo Awards as well.
b.) The easiest way to acquire a mid-status with Skyteam
Skyteam and their different programs have totally different approaches on how to obtain a Status, from easy to complicated.
We would choose the easiest option, FlyingBlue, you will need 180XP within 1 year to obtain Gold status. Below in the table, you can see how many XP’s you will earn for the different distances and classes.
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