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Just getting started with frequent flyer programs?

Dear Tim,

I have never participated in frequent flyer miles and I am a little unnerved how to take advantage. I will be traveling more and thought I should also have a credit card that gets frequent flyer miles. Is there one you recommend? I am still confused as to how to go about doing this. If you have any recommendations for a novice, please let me know.


Dear Stephanie,

If you’re going to be traveling (i.e. you’ll be a frequent flyer, rather than a frequent buyer), the most important choice is which airline program to join. And to oversimplify somewhat, the best program for you will be the program operated by the airline you will be flying the most.

After you’ve chosen a program in which to earn miles, the choice of credit card is pretty straightforward. It typically makes sense to use the card associated with your chosen program. That way, you’re earning miles for traveling and for credit card charges in the same program, thereby maximizing your chances of accruing enough miles for free tickets.

All of this can be confusing, I know. A good place to begin is with the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

Have fun!

Tim Winship
Contributing Editor

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