Business Travel Travel Tips

Redeeming Business Travel Frequent Flyer Miles: They’re Not Just for Tickets Anymore

Airlines now offer multiple options for the redemption of frequent flyer miles.
Airlines now offer multiple options for the redemption of frequent flyer miles.

Frequent flyer programs have now been around for 32 years. American Airlines started the first program and the premise was simple–fly on American, accumulate miles, then cash those miles in for a free ticket. The idea quickly caught on and created a fierce loyalty between the traveling public and the airlines.

As mileage accounts grew, it became obvious to the airlines that the programs needed to be tweaked. After all, road warriors were racking up some pretty serious miles. Over the years we’ve seen that mileage redemption for a “free” ticket has been increased. As technology improved, airlines were also able to increase the number of miles needed to travel at peak times or to popular destinations.

The watchword from the airlines was to be “flexible.” To most people that meant they would have to check other dates or times which may not be as desirable. But being flexible also meant you may not get to fly to the city of your choice.

For example, if you wanted to perhaps cash in your miles for a family vacation to Disneyworld, you would want to fly into Orlando, right? But trying to get a free ticket to Orlando could mean draining your frequent flyer account. It’s a popular destination and the airlines would rather have fare paying passengers in those seats. So the mileage redemption is going to be high. One recommendation would be to try a surrounding airport, such as Tampa. It’s about a 90 minute drive, but one family saved about half of their miles by choosing that airport over Orlando. And, since they were renting a car anyway, it really didn’t add much to the cost of their entire vacation.

In time, airlines also soon began to realize that a lot of road warriors didn’t want to see the inside of an airplane during their vacation. After all, many of them spend a week or two each month in planes and airports. And another flying trip, even for a vacation, would just mean more time doing what they already do for business. The airlines also realized that, collectively, their top 10-20% of travelers had millions of miles sitting on the books. So they’ve now created new ways to redeem those miles for merchandise or benefits.

You can now cash in miles for airline club memberships, GPS units, household goods, and even Broadway show tickets. Some airlines even run auctions for exotic vacations. You can also donate miles to charity. For example, Delta has partnered with organizations such as Children’s Miracle Network, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Hero Miles.

Visit your favorite airline website to see the many different options for redeeming your miles.

Travel Management Travel News Travel Tips

Delta’s SkyMiles Medallion Status Match Challenge

Are you a top-tier frequent flier?
Have you heard about Delta’s SkyMiles Medallion® Status Match Challenge?
If not, we’d like to share some valuable information about how to leverage your current elite status (on American, United, or Continental) to receive comparable benefits on Delta.
Until June 30, 2012, if frequent fliers meet the outlined criteria, they will receive Platinum, Gold or Silver Medallion status from Delta for 90 days, based on their current elite level with another airline. To then maintain those matched Medallion rewards through the remainder of 2012, the flier would then simply need to earn a specific number of qualification miles. The required number of qualification miles is based on the matched Medallion level.
But what are the benefits of doing this?
Well, depending on the Medallion level, members enjoy exclusive privileges such as:

  • Unlimited complimentary upgrades for paid tickets
  • Access to preferred seats and economy comfort seats
  • Priority wait list status
  • Fee waivers for baggage and ticketing charges
  • Priority baggage handling
  • Premium benefits on in-flight food and beverage
  • Lounge access

Plus participating in challenges like this means you don’t have to start at square one in accruing points and miles if you want to switch airlines.
To be considered for this Status Match Challenge, visit and submit your information. You can also find more general information on airline status matches here.

Travel News

Delta/NW Mileage Program Now Merged

The Northwest Airlines® WorldPerks program officially merged into the Delta Air Lines SkyMiles program. SkyMiles is now the sole loyalty program for both Delta and Northwest even though the two airlines will continue to operate separately until the merger is fully complete in early 2010. It’s business as usual for SkyMiles members, who will experience very little change with this program integration. All former WorldPerks members are now SkyMiles members and have a 10-digit SkyMiles account number, which they should use going forward. As of October 1, the Northwest Airlines® WorldPerks program has officially merged into the Delta SkyMiles program.

  • If you had previously linked your WorldPerks and SkyMiles accounts, your accounts are in the process of being consolidated. Your miles, Elite Qualifying Miles and Segments, and lifetime EQMs have already been combined.  Any changes to Medallion or Million Miler status are already reflected in your account.  We are still working to combine the rest of your account information including your tracking and history. We anticipate that all accounts will be fully consolidated over the next month. As soon as we complete the full consolidation, we will advise you via email.
  • If you did not have a SkyMiles account or had not previously linked your WorldPerks and SkyMiles accounts, you have been assigned a 10-digit SkyMiles number that will replace your WorldPerks number. This new number will be communicated to you in early October.

Here’s more information on the loyalty integration process and what you can expect from October 2009 through early 2010.

  • SkyMiles is now the sole loyalty program for both Delta and Northwest even though the two airlines will continue to operate separately until the merger is fully completed in early 2010.
  • All former WorldPerks members are now SkyMiles members and will begin receiving their new 10-digit SkyMiles account number during the first two weeks in October.
  • WorldPerks members who linked their WorldPerks account to their SkyMiles account will have their account information consolidated. and their SkyMiles number will be their primary account number moving forward.
  • All WorldPerks elite qualification miles, redeemable miles, Elite, and Million Air status are transferred into the member’s SkyMiles account.

Key Points for WorldPerks Members

  • Members who linked their accounts will receive an email advising them when their WorldPerks account information has been merged into their SkyMiles account.
  • WorldPerks members who did not link their accounts will receive either an email or SkyMiles credential package advising them of their new number.
  • For all new bookings, please provide your SkyMiles number to travel agents and airline, hotel, car rental, and all other SkyMiles partners.
  • For all existing bookings that include your previous WorldPerks account number, you do not have to do anything—you will receive mileage credit.
  • Your WorldPerks PIN can be used to access your SkyMiles account information.
  • If you did not link your former WorldPerks account to your existing SkyMiles account and now have multiple SkyMiles accounts, you can now request to merge your duplicate SkyMiles account online.
  • Going forward, all SkyMiles program rules and conditions apply. To review the rules, please visit the SkyMiles Membership Guide & Program Rules.
  • For further information visit SkyMiles/WorldPerks® Program Integration .
  • Source: