|Consumers Are Sitting on 9.7 Trillion Unused Rewards Miles|
According to a new report from InsideFlyer Magazine, consumers are sitting a whopping 9.7 Trillion unused frequent flyer miles and rewards points earned through airlines around the globe.
While most of us will admit to loving a great deal, including racking up airline frequent flyer miles in hopes of acquiring enough for a free plane ticket to a favorite destination, it appears as though not nearly as many are taking advantage of what these rewards programs have to offer.
The report states that while most consumers are extremely knowledgeable on how to earn rewards miles and points through a special credit card program or directly through the airlines themselves, a very small percentage of those who accrue miles ever cash them in for a ticket.
The InsideFlyer report shows that in 2011 only eight percent of plane tickets issued from the major U.S. airlines came from rewards points. Alaska Airlines has the highest number of tickets purchased with points, at 8.9 percent.
Industry experts say that the likely reason that so many points go unused is how difficult many airlines now make it to use them. When you factor in “blackout” dates and other restrictions, many consumers find it next to impossible to reap the benefits of the points they’ve earned.
What is the best advice to successfully book a ticket with rewards points? Be flexible. Allow yourself a range of dates and times to travel.
Experts also say that one of the best strategies is to wait until three to seven days prior to departure. By this point the airlines are typically able to determine how many seats on a given flight won’t sell, and will usually release them for frequent flyer and rewards travel.