To get the most out of your commercial airline affiliations:
1. Sign up for a couple of frequent flyer programs.
2. Use the Internet to track down discount airline tickets.
3. Tap commercial airline perks programs specially designed for small businesses.
4. Maximize international air travel efficiencies with code share partners.
Sign up for frequent flyer programs with commercial airlinesAlmost all major commercial airlines have frequent flyer programs. Partner with the one or two airlines that best serve your needs and book airline tickets with them as often as possible.
Track down your airlines’ programs and review the benefits of their frequent flyer programs at FrequentFlier.com. Once you have a cache of miles, manage and maximize them with programs like MileMaven.com, AwardWallet.com and MilePort. Find out about more frequent airline traveler programs at Business.com.
Use Internet search tools to track down discount air travel dealsThe newest and best Internet air travel websites, including some commercial airlines' own sites, can be good places to book airline tickets.
Head to the Official Airline Guide (OAG) for a comprehensive list of commercial airlines’ websites to book airline tickets, then check air travel options with speedy commercial airlines searches on SideStep, Kayak.com and Mobissimo Travel Search (rated best for international carriers). Online business travel programs like American Express, Orbitz, Expedia and Travelocity can be good sources for managed air travel.
Reap the benefits of commercial airline perks programsIn addition to frequent flyer programs, most commercial airlines also offer special benefits like free airline tickets, upgrades and more to corporations.
Tap into commercial airlines’ perks and bonuses, such as United Airlines’ PerksPlus program, Northwest’s BizPerks, Delta’s SkyBonus and American’s Business ExtrAA. The discount carriers do it too: check out AirTran’s a2B, Frontier’s Business Travel Program (BTP) and JetBlue’s TrueBlue frequent flyer program. Southwest Airlines recently added an A-List Membership benefit that will appeal to business travelers who book their discount air travel.
Streamline air travel with code share partnersCommercial airlines expand their global reach through wide-ranging agreements with global airlines that travel to destinations that they do not. Combining the route systems and frequent flyer programs of several major airlines that are code share partners means your domestic and international air travel can be seamless.
Look into code share partners that are members of the oneworld Alliance, SkyTeam and Star Alliance.
- Make sure that membership numbers from frequent flyer programs are recorded on every flight reservation. Check your passenger receipt for the number or ask when you check in.
- Don't play the field - pledge your loyalty to just one or two commercial airlines that fly where you need to go.
- Points earned in commercial airline business perks programs can be used for free airline tickets and upgrades. Consider using them to incentify or thank your top achievers.
- If your company earns points in a commercial airline perks program like Northwest BizPerks or United PerksPlus, ask about using some of these points to pay for your airport club membership.
- If you're a member in an airline frequent flyer program and fly on a code share partner's carrier, you might not earn miles for those segments flown on the code share partner's carrier. Check this out ahead of time.