Learn How to Earn Miles to Fly for Free

Business travel can often be hard and time-consuming. That's why many business travelers look forward to at least earning miles when they fly. Nothing beats earning free flights, hotels, or car rentals. Business travelers can make their trips more rewarding by joining frequent flyer and customer loyalty programs, such as American Airlines AAdvantage or United MileagePlus. Note that airline rewards programs can frequently change, so it's best to keep on top of your miles and be aware of the different reward and redeeming options that your airlines provide.

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American Airlines AAdvantage

An American Airlines passenger jet (Boeing 737)
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American Airline's AAdvantage program is one of the largest and longest running travel rewards programs. AAdvantage is a free program that awards miles for each ticket purchased on American, its partners, American Airlines credit card, or one of many other programs that American runs.

American Airlines AAdvantage Miles can be redeemed for travel on American or any of its many OneWorld partners. Miles earned are based on the length of the journey as well as the class of ticket purchased. Hotel partner stays and select car rentals earn AAdvantage points, as well.

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Delta SkyMiles

Delta Airlines and Delta Connection passenger jets
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Delta Airline's SkyMiles program is a solid loyalty program for business travelers who can earn miles on Delta, Delta Shuttle, or Delta Connection flights. They can also earn miles on SkyTeam airline partners.

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JetBlue TrueBlue

A JetBlue passenger jet (Embraer 190)
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JetBlue's TrueBlue rewards program is fairly straightforward and easy to use. It's not quite as extensive as a larger, legacy airline's program (like American Airlines AAdvantage rewards), but for business travelers that fly JetBlue frequently, it's a good deal.

The TrueBlue program provides the ability for fliers to use points for any seat on any JetBlue operated flight, with no blackout dates and points that don't expire. The more you travel on JetBlue, the more you can earn. Fliers can also earn additional miles by purchasing their flights at JetBlue.com or using the JetBlue credit card.

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Southwest Rapid Rewards

A Southwest Airlines passenger jet (Boeing 737)
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Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards program allows travelers to earn points based on the amount of money they spent and class of ticket they buy. Points are earned by the amount spent on tickets, or through partners, credit cards, or other programs. Redeeming points is also easy -- the number of points required for a flight depends on the current fare for the flight. The program has unlimited reward seats, no blackout dates, and points that don’t expire. Travelers can now also redeem points for international flights.

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United Mileage Plus

A United Airlines Airbus passenger jet
Getty Images/Robert Alexander

Travelers can earn miles on Mileage Plus by taking flights on United and United Express flights. Miles are earned according to the booking class of the flight. Miles earned on United and United Express count toward Mileage Plus elite status. 50% bonus elite status miles are paid first, business or full economy class flights. Travelers can also earn points through partner airlines in the Star Alliance network, as well as through many hotel, car, credit card, and retails partners around the world. 

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