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Online mileage tools?

SmarterTravel

Dear Tim,

I’ve received quite a few requests recently for online resources related to frequent flyer miles. Two of those requests recur sufficiently often to warrant including, and answering, here.

  1. How can I determine the number of miles I will earn
    for an upcoming trip?
  2. Is there a free online service that will help
    me manage my miles?

Dear Reader,

  1. While I’m not aware of any site with a dedicated mileage
    calculator, you can always use the booking engine on the airlines’ sites. Here’s how it works on American’s site:

    a) Go to AA.com (http://www.aa.com).

    b) Enter your departure and arrival cities in the appropriate boxes, as though you were going to make a reservation. Click the “Choose” button.

    c) Click on one of the flights shown in the resulting list. It will show the flight’s details, including departure date and time, flight number, meal service, aircraft type, AND number of miles between airports.

    d) Double the miles for roundtrips, add any applicable
    class-of-service bonuses, and you’re done.

  2. There are a number of websites which will happily and
    competently track your mileage earnings from multiple programs, presenting you with a consolidated account statement, updated regularly, both online and via e-mail.

    This is the content aggregation model, and involves a technique called “screen scraping.” You grant the service provider limited power of attorney to access your frequent flyer accounts, disclose your member numbers and passwords, and within 48 hours you can view details of multiple accounts in a single report.

    There are a number of online mileage managers that will provide the service free for an introductory period, after which you pay $2 to $3 per month to continue. The trick is getting it for nothing. Here are two ways…

    If you are an American Express cardholder, you can take advantage of their Rewards Manager (https://www.rewardsmanager.com). Since there are Amex cards available with no annual fee, it’s possible to use Rewards Manager for free.

    Another no-cost option is ClickRewards’ RewardCentral. To use the service, you will have to join ClickRewards if you’re not already a member.

Tim Winship
Contributing Editor
SmarterTravel.com

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