What You Need To Know About Global Airlines' Frequent Flyer Programs

Edited by Benet Wilson

The frequent flyer program revolution began in 1981, when Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines decided to start a loyalty program that would track and reward the customers that flew with them the most. And quickly, that idea would revolutionize the way people travel - if you flew enough you would be rewarded with everything from free flights to upgrades.

And frequent flyer programs have evolved to include earning rewards by using credit cards, by where you shop, and sleep and in many ways that are unrelated to air travel. Below is frequent flyer program information for 15 of the world’s major airlines.

  • 01 of 15
    Photo courtesy of Toronto-Pearson International Airport

    This Montreal-based carrier's Aeroplan gives members access to more than 150 retail, financial and travel partners. Travelers also have access to the 27 Star Alliance airline partners, where members can use  their Aeroplan miles to book flights. 

  • 02 of 15

    Air France/KLM

    Photo courtesy of Jt716/Wikipedia

    The Paris- and Amsterdam-based carriers have a joint frequent flyer program, Flying Blue. As members of Skyteam, Flying Blue members can book travel on the 20 airlines that are part of the alliance. Miles can also be used to shop or even donate them to charity

  • 03 of 15
    Photo by Benet J. Wilson

    Airpoints is the frequent flyer program for New Zealand's flag carrier. Members can earn and redeem rewards, and points can be used on 27 Star Alliance carriers, along with other airline partner flights.

  • 04 of 15
    Alaska-Air-737-BW.jpg
    Photo by Benet J. Wilson

    The Seattle-based airline offers travelers access to its Mileage Plan frequent flyer program. Members have access to free flights on  Alaska Airlines and its 15 global airline partners to more than 800 destinations around the world.

    Continue to 5 of 15 below.
  • 05 of 15
    Photo by Benet J. Wilson

    The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier started the frequent flyer program revolution back in 1981 with the AAdvantage frequent flyer program. Members can use miles to fly on American, the 15 Oneworld alliance carriers and other participating airlines to nearly 1,000 destinations worldwide.

  • 06 of 15

    British Airways

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    Photo by Benet J. Wilson

    The U.K.'s flag carrier offers travelers access to the Executive Club, its frequent flyer program. And members earn Avios points that can be used for flights, upgrades and other rewards on British Airways and its Oneworld alliance carrier partners.

  • 07 of 15
    Delta-Air-Lines-757-Air-Icarus.jpg
    Photo courtesy of Aero Icarus, via Flickr (http://bit.ly/1gBLHtB).

    The Atlanta-based carrier offers members access to its Sky Miles frequent flyer program. Travelers can also use their miles for flights and upgrades on the 20 airlines in the Skyteam alliance.

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    Photo by Benet J. Wilson

    The New York City-based carrier offers members its True Blue frequent flyer program. Although it's not part of an alliance, travelers can use points on five partner airlines: Emirates, Hawaiian Airlines, Silver Airways, Singapore Airlines and South African Airways.

    Continue to 9 of 15 below.
  • 09 of 15

    Lufthansa

    Photo courtesy of AirwaysNews.com

    Germany's flag carrier offers travelers access to its Miles and More frequent flyer program.  Those miles can also be used on 27 Star Alliance carriers.

  • 10 of 15
    public domain

    Travelers flying on Australia's flag carrier can earn miles via the Frequent Flyer program. And miles can also be used on the 15 Oneworld alliance carriers, along with partners including Jetstar, Emirates, Alaska Airlines, Alitalia, El Al, Fiji Airways and WestJet.

  • 11 of 15

    Southwest Airlines

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    Photo courtesy of Benet J. Wilson

    Rapid Rewards is the frequent flyer program of this Dallas-based carrier. The program prides itself on offering unlimited reward seats and no blackout dates to nearly 100 U.S. destinations and seven countries.

  • 12 of 15

    United Airlines

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    Photo courtesy of United Airlines

    The Chicago-based carrier offers its MileagePlus frequent flyer program. Miles can be used for flights and upgrades on United and its 27 Star Alliance carrier partners.

    Continue to 13 of 15 below.
  • 13 of 15
    Photo courtesy of Emirates

    The Dubai-based carrier offers travelers the chance to earn frequent flyer miles under its Skyward program. Miles can also be used on 14 partner carriers, including Air Mauritius, JetBlue, Japan Airlines, Korean Air and Virgin America.

  • 14 of 15

     The Doha-based carrier's frequent flyer program is Privilege Club. Members earn Qpoints that they can use on the carrier's flights. Members also have access to flights on the 15 Oneworld alliance carriers, along with Asiana, GOL, MEA and Royal Air Maroc.

  • 15 of 15
    Etihad_-_Boeing_777_300_ER.jpg
    Photo courtesy of Etihad

    Etihad Guest is the frequent flyer program of the Abu Dhabi-based carrier. Members can also use miles on 25 partner airlines including Air New Zealand, ANA, Garuda Indonesia, Philippine Airlines and Virgin Australia.