Frequent flyer programs are airlines’ loyalty programs that provide for the accumulation of points (or figurative miles) for discounts or rewards by purchasing airline flights or services from airline partners.

How does it work?

By enrolling in a frequent flyer program (available for many airlines) and purchasing travel, you can accumulate points (or figurative miles) that can be converted into discounts on your next flight purchase.

However, they can also be used as discounts on certain airline services, such as:

  • luggage
  • priority on waiting list
  • seats
  • upgrade to a higher class of travel
  • lounge access

How do I earn miles?

Miles can be earned by purchasing flights but also through the services of the company’s partners, which can be:

  • hotel
  • car rentals
  • stores

Moreover, according to the miles acquired, you can access different statuses that provide different rewards/rebates.

Let’s see together the frequent flyer programs of the most important companies:

  1. SkyTeam
  2. KLM – Air France
  3. British Airways
  4. Lufthansa
  5. Emirates
  6. American Airlines 
  7. Iberia

1. SkyTeam

SkyTeam is an alliance that includes 19 airlines and enables you to have a more complete travel experience. With SkyTeam, if you’re enrolled in a frequent flyer program with one of its member airlines, you earn status that qualifies you for SkyTeam Elite and SkyTeam Elite Plus. 

SkyTeam airlines and their frequent flyer programs are:

2. KLM – Air France

The frequent flyer program of KLM-Air France is called Flying blue.  

Membership is free, you earn miles with many services: hotel reservations, car rentals, traveling with partner airlines, shopping (including online) or financial services and you accumulate points (called XP – extra points) with flights.

With the Explorer program (free basic membership) you have access to:

  • 4 miles every € spent
  • Up to 10€ discount on the first baggage charge
  • 10% discount on seat options

With the Silver program (you upgrade from Explorer to Silver with the accumulation of 100XP), you have access to:

  • 6 miles with every € spent
  • Priority check-in at baggage drop-off and boarding
  • 25% discount on seating options
  • Free standard seat selection
  • Additional checked baggage allowance on SkyTeam flights

With the Gold program (You go from Silver to Gold with the accumulation of 180 XP), you have access to:

  • 7 miles with every € spent
  • Access to lounges worldwide with a guest of your choice
  • Priority airport routing
  • 50% Discount on Seat Options
  • Choose a free standard seat when you purchase your ticket
  • Choose a free standard seat when you purchase your ticket

With the Platinum program (you move from Gold to Platinum with the accumulation of 300 XP), you have access to:

  • Earn 8 miles with every € spent
  • Access to lounges worldwide with a guest of your choice
  • Priority airport routing
  • Enjoy free seat options
  • Choose a free standard seat when you purchase your ticket
  • Option to have one extra bag on all SkyTeam flights
  • Access to the Platinum Service Line 24/7

List of KLM – Air France partner companies:  

  • Aer Lingus
  • SkyTeam Alliance
  • Aeroflot
  • Aerolíneas Argentinas
  • Aeroméxico
  • Air Astana
  • Air Baltic
  • Air Europa
  • Air France
  • Air Malta
  • Air Serbia
  • Bangkok Airways
  • Belavia
  • Bulgaria Air
  • China Southern
  • CityJet
  • Copa Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • Etihad Airways
  • Georgian Airways
  • GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes
  • Hop!
  • Korean Air
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Pegasus Airlines
  • Sichuan Airlines
  • Tarom
  • Transavia
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • WestJet
  • Widerøe Airlines

3. British Airways 

British Airways’ frequent flyer service is called Executive Club, by signing up for this service you can get special offers reserved for members, save your data and travel preferences securely to make your bookings faster, accumulate Avios (the club currency) to receive rewards.  

In addition to booking flights, you can also earn Avios by staying at participating hotels and renting cars or by shopping in their eStore with selected retailers such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Apple.

In addition, frequent flyers will enjoy other benefits, including:

  • priority boarding for Bronze members
  • Lounge access for Silver members
  • First class lounge access and spa treatments for Gold members

When you sign up for a free membership in the program you are automatically a Blue member and have the following benefits:

  • Earn Avios when you fly with oneworld® partner airlines
  • Preferred seating assigned (where applicable) to passengers holding flexible fare tickets
  • Option to choose a dietary preference on flights where meals are served
  • Priority on booking lists and airport waiting lists over non-members.

After the Blue level, there is the Bronze level, which you can get by flying with British Airways twice and with 300 Executive Club Points or make a total of 25 British Airways flights, has the following benefits:

  • Business class check-in (except at London city airport)
  • Priority boarding at all times (except at London city airport)
  • You can choose seats for yourself and those travelling with you up to 7 days in advance of departure
  • If your luggage is lost, you will be placed at the top of the search list
  • You’ll earn an extra 25% Avios bonus every time you fly with British Airways
  • Some of our partner airlines offer tiered bonuses to further increase your Avios balance. (Check individual airlines for details)
  • Maintain your Executive club status even if you’re on maternity/paternity/adoption leave
  • You can combine your own and your family’s Avios in a joint account
  • A direct line to our Customer Service staff for when you need to contact British Airways (you’ll find the number on the back of your card)

After the Bronze level there is the Silver level, which you can get by flying with British Airways at least four times and with 600 Executive Club Points or make a total of 50 British Airways flights, it has the following benefits:

  • You can choose the seats for you and those traveling with you (must be present in the same reservation) excluding seats in the emergency exit row on long-haul flights
  • A minimum checked baggage allowance of two pieces in Economy Class for all passengers in your reservation (except for Basic fares, carry-on baggage only)
  • A 32 kg checked baggage allowance, regardless of class of travel, for all passengers on your reservation*.
  • A direct line to the dedicated Customer Service staff (you will find the number on the back of your card)
  • Book a full economy fare ticket up to 24 hours before the flight (Y class only)
  • Check in at least one hour before departure
  • Earn 50% more Avios every time you fly with British Airways
  • Some of our partner airlines offer tiered bonuses to help you increase your Avios balance faster. (See individual airlines for details)
  • Business class check-in (except at London city airport)
  • Priority boarding at all times (except at London city airport)
  • Priority on booking or waiting lists
  • You can combine your own and your family’s Avios in a joint account

After the Silver level there is the Gold level, which you can get by flying with British Airways at least four times and with 1500 Executive Club level points. It has the following benefits:

  • Free seat selection from the time of booking for the whole group on British Airways flights; also valid for friends and family on other bookings, provided they are travelling in the same class and on the same flight* and also exclusive access to 1A and 1K when travelling in First Class for Gold members only.
  • One free extra checked bag in any class of travel for all passengers within your booking (except Basic fare, carry-on only)*.
  • One 32 kg checked baggage allowance, regardless of class of travel, for all passengers within your booking*.
  • No booking fee for Priority Reward reservations.
  • A direct line to our Customer Service staff for when you need to contact British Airways (you’ll find the number on the back of your card)
  • Earn 100% more Avios every time you fly with British Airways
  • Lounge access
  • Maintain your Executive club status even if you’re on maternity/paternity/adoption leave
  • Complimentary priority rental service, Avis Priority Rental Service, which allows you to collect your rental car directly from the arrivals hall in London Heathrow Terminal 5.
  • You can share your Avios points with any member on your family or friends list.
  • On reaching 2,500 Tier Points, we will award a voucher which you and a travel companion can use to upgrade to the next class of travel of your choice.
  • On reaching 3,500 Tier Points we will award you 2 Gold Upgrade for One vouchers that you can use for yourself or to travel with a companion (Upgrades are available on multi-carrier bookings and are subject to availability in the next higher class of travel)
  • With 5,000 Executive Club level points, you will receive the Concorde Room Card, the key to the most luxurious and comfortable lounges in Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport and Terminal 7 at New York JFK Airport, the ideal environment for relaxation and business.
  • With 5,000 Executive Club Points, you’ll receive two Silver Partner Cards and one Gold Partner Card, so you can share the benefits with those you care about most.
  • Lifetime membership at the Gold level with 35,000 Lifetime Points

*Must be one of the passengers on the reservation (or, in the case of free seat selection, on one of the reservations) to receive benefits. Not available for reservations with group rates.  

List of British Airways partner airlines:

  • Compagnie oneworld®
    • Alaska Airlines
    • American Airlines
    • Cathay Pacific
    • Finnair
    • Iberia
    • Japan Airlines
    • Malaysia Airlines
    • Qantas
    • Qatar Airways
    • Royal Air Maroc
    • Royal Jordanian
    • S7 Airlines
    • SriLankan Airlines
    • Fiji Airways
  • BA CityFlyer

4. Lufthansa 

Lufthansa’s frequent flyer service is called Miles & More, you can earn miles through flights (also with partner airlines), hotel reservations and shopping.  

You can use your miles to get an upgrade on your flight, a rental car or to shop in the Lufthansa WorldShop.

Here are the benefits of enrolling in the program:

  • Simplify flight booking with data storage
  • Become a status member and receive exclusive privileges
  • Earn award miles with almost 40 partner airlines.
  • Earn award miles in everyday life, for example when shopping or booking hotels.
  • You can redeem miles for flights or shopping.
  • Gives you the opportunity to redeem bonus points from other programs for miles
  • With the purchase of a Miles & More credit card you can enjoy exclusive benefits such as protection against expiry of miles, welcome bonuses and much more.

With Miles & More there are three statuses you can acquire:

Frequent traveler:

  • You can enjoy an increased baggage allowance
  • Tier 3 waitlist priority (Frequent Traveler and Senator waitlist priority is valid for all flights operated by Star Alliance partner airlines, but not for upgrades and award bookings)

Senator

  • You can use First Class check-ins
  • 2 eVouchers upon status acquisition and each status renewal
  • Tier 2 waitlist priority (Frequent Traveler and Senator waitlist priority is valid for all flights operated by Star Alliance partner airlines, but not for upgrades and award bookings)
  • Up to 48 hours prior to take-off in the highest booking class in Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class.*
  • Senator Premium Award (best booking solutions for one and a half times the number of miles)

HON circle: 

  • You will have an exclusive limousine and transfer service both on arrival and departure
  • Reservations guaranteed within 24/48 before departure
  • Access to the Lounge
  • 6 eVouchers upon status acquisition and each status renewal
  • Highest priority on the waiting list (Valid for all flights operated by Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa and SWISS, but not for upgrades and award bookings)
  • Up to 24 hours prior to take-off in the highest booking class in Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Economy Class*.
  • Increased availability of award flights: HON + 3 companions up to 14 days before departure if there are still seats available in Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class (flights operated by LH, OS, LO, LX, SN)

  *(In Business Class on scheduled flights operated by Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa and SWISS in booking class J. On flights operated by Croatia Airlines and LOT Polish Airlines in booking class C. In Premium Economy Class operated by Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and SWISS you can use the guaranteed booking class G. On flights operated by LOT Polish Airlines the booking guarantee in Premium Economy Class applies to booking class P and in Economy Class to booking class Y. Austrian Airlines: no booking guarantee on Austrian myHoliday flights with flight numbers 4000 to 4200 and 9000 to 9999).

List of Lufthansa’s partner companies:

  • Eurowings
  • Star Alliance:
    • Aegean Airlines
    • Air Canada
    • Air China
    • LOT Polish Airlines
    • Asiana Airlines
    • Air India
    • Air New Zealand
    • All Nippon Airlines
    • Asiana Airlines
    • Avianca
    • Austrian Airlines
    • Brussels Airlines
    • Copa Airlines
    • Croatia Airlines
    • EgyptAir 
    • Ethiopian Airlines
    • EVA Air
    • LOT Polish Airlines
    • Scandinavian Airlines
    • Shenzhen Airlines
    • Singapore Airlines
    • South Africa Airways
    • Swiss Airlines
    • TAP Portugal
    • Thai Airways International
    • Turkish Airlines
    • United Airlines

5. Emirates

Emirates’ frequent flyer program is called Emirates Skywards and allows you to earn miles through flights with Emirates or flydubai and their partners around the world.

With the miles earned you will be able to:

  • Book an award flight
  • Upgrade your class
  • Purchase luxury hotel stays
  • Purchase family excursions
  • Purchase tickets to sporting and cultural events

With Emirates Skywards, you’ll have access to 4 levels of membership:

  • Status Blue
    • Skywards miles can be used to book awards directly online (including flights and upgrades)
    • Special member-only offers and travel packages in each category
    • Earn miles and book awards with global partners
    • Appoint a personal travel coordinator
    • Store your personal preferences
    • Priority waiting lists
    • Immediate upgrade to a higher class that can be purchased with miles at check-in (at the airport)
    • Complimentary lounge access
    • Wi-Fi access
    • Special offers for members by category
  • Status Silver
    • Skywards miles can be used to book awards directly online (including flights and upgrades)
    • Special member-only offers and travel packages in each category
    • Earn miles and book awards with global partners
    • Appoint a personal travel coordinator
    • Store your personal preferences
    • Complimentary seat selection
    • Excess baggage allowance
    • Priority waiting lists
    • Earn bonus miles on Emirates flights
    • Immediate upgrade to a higher class that can be purchased with miles at check-in (at the airport)
    • Priority check-in and boarding
    • Free access to lounges
    • Complimentary lounge access
    • Instant upgrade to a higher class available for purchase with miles (on board) (Special tickets do not allow for award upgrades. If you have purchased a Special ticket, you cannot upgrade a family member or friend directly on board using Skywards miles)
    • Wi-Fi access
    • Special offers for members by category
    • Your World Rewards
    • Priority baggage delivery
  • Advantages with flydubai  
    • Skywards bonus miles
    • Check-in at Business Class counters
    • Check-in at Business Class counters
    • Free access to lounges
  • Status Golden
    • Skywards miles can be used to book awards directly online (including flights and upgrades)
    • Special member-only offers and travel packages in each category
    • Earn miles and book awards with global partners
    • Appoint a personal travel coordinator
    • Store your personal preferences
    • Complimentary seat selection
    • Excess baggage allowance
    • Priority waiting lists
    • Earn bonus miles on Emirates flights
    • Priority services through Contact Centers
    • Guaranteed seat, even on fully booked flights
    • Immediate upgrade to a higher class that can be purchased with miles at check-in (at the airport)
    • Priority check-in and boarding
    • Free access to lounges
    • Complimentary lounge access
    • Instant upgrade to a higher class available for purchase with miles (on board) (Special tickets do not allow for award upgrades. If you have purchased a Special ticket, you cannot upgrade a family member or friend directly on board using Skywards miles)
    • Wi-Fi access
    • Special offers for members by category
    • Your World Rewards
    • Priority baggage delivery
  • Advantages with flydubai  
    • Skywards bonus miles
    • Check-in at Business Class counters
    • Priority baggage delivery
    • Check-in at Business Class counters
    • Free access to lounges
  • Status Platinum:
    • Skywards miles can be used to book awards directly online (including flights and upgrades)
    • Special member-only offers and travel packages in each category
    • Earn miles and book awards with global partners
    • Appoint a personal travel coordinator
    • Store your personal preferences
    • Complimentary seat selection
    • Excess baggage allowance
    • Priority waiting lists
    • Earn bonus miles on Emirates flights
    • Priority services through Contact Centers
    • Guaranteed seat, even on fully booked flights
    • Classic Flex Plus “Last Seat” award tickets* are available through Emirates Contact Centers.
    • Gold partner designation
    • No expiry date for Skywards miles
    • Immediate upgrade to a higher class that can be purchased with miles at check-in (at the airport)
    • Priority check-in and boarding
    • Free access to lounges
    • Complimentary lounge access
    • Instant upgrade to a higher class available for purchase with miles (on board) (Special tickets do not allow for award upgrades. If you have purchased a Special ticket, you cannot upgrade a family member or friend directly on board using Skywards miles)
    • Wi-Fi access
    • Special offers for members by category
    • Your World Rewards
    • Priority baggage delivery
    • Skywards bonus miles
    • Check-in at Business Class counters
    • Priority baggage delivery
    • Additional allowance for checked baggage*
    • Free access to lounges

*Additional baggage allowance is only valid if flydubai flight fare includes checked baggage.

List of Emirates partner airlines:

  • Air Mauritius
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Bangkok Airways
  • Copa Airlines
  • easyJet
  • GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes
  • Japan Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Jetstar
  • Korean Air
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • S7 Airlines
  • TAP Portugal

ITA Airways

Volare is the frequent flyer programme of ITA Airways. Currently you can only accumulate points that will be credited by 28 February 2022, from 1 March 2022 you will have access to all the benefits and offers.

You can sign up for free online and depending on the points you accumulate you will be able to access one of the programme’s clubs:

  • Executive
  • Premium
  • Plus
  • Smart

7. American Airlines

American Airlines’ frequent flyer program is called AAdvantage, members can earn miles with American Airlines, oneworld® and their partners. Miles are earned through flights or other services.

The benefits you can access through AAdvantage are:

  • Flights to almost 1,000 destinations worldwide
  • Upgrade
  • Car rental and hotel stays
  • Other commercial products

With the AAdvantage program you can acquire Elite status in two ways

  1. qualifying miles for Elite status (EQM) + qualifying dollars for Elite status (EQD)
  2. Elite Status Qualifying Flight Segments (EQS) + Elite Status Qualifying Dollars (EQD)

Goldoneworld® Ruby

  • 20.000 (EQM)
  • 20 flights (EQS)
  • 2,000$ (EXD)*

Platinumoneworld® Sapphire

  • 40.000 (EQM)
  • 45 flights (EQS)
  • 4,500$ (EQD)*

Platinum Prooneworld® Emerald

  • 60.000 miglia (EQM)
  • 70 flights (EQS)
  • 7,000$ (EQD)*

Executive Platinumoneworld® Emerald:

  • 80.000 miglia (EQM)
  • 95 flights (EQS)
  • 12.000$ (EQD)*

*In 2021, the company will waive EQD requirements to qualify for Gold, Platinum and Platinum Pro statuses by spending $30,000 in net purchases made with eligible AAdvantage® credit cards and charged to the statement between January 1 and December 31, 2021.

List of American Airlines partner airlines:

  • Compagnie oneworld®
    • American Airlines
    • British Airways
    • Cathay Pacific
    • Finnair
    • Japan Airlines
    • Malaysia Airlines
    • Qantas
    • Qatar Airways
    • Royal Air Maroc
    • Royal Jordanian
    • S7 Airlines
    • SriLankan
  • Air Tahiti Nui 
  • Cape Air 
  • China Southern Airlines 
  • Etihad Airways 
  • Fiji Airways 
  • GOL Airlines 
  • Hawaiian Airlines 
  • JetBlue 
  • Seaborne Virgin Islands 

8. Iberia

Iberia’s frequent flyer system is called Iberia plus and like British Airways uses Avios accumulation. You can get them through flight bookings, the services of the company’s partners, with promotions and with products of the Iberia Plus Program. One Avios corresponds to one mile of flying through Iberia and associated partners and you can use Avios for:  

  • Your flights (On all flights a minimum number of Avios seats are guaranteed)
  • An upgrade from Flexible Economy Class (fares Y, B or H) to Iberia Business Class.
  • Book hotel stays or rental cars, leisure activities or purchases from more than 90 partners at your disposal.
  • With Avios&Money you can pay part of the amount with Avios and the rest with money, with a benefit of up to 50% off the amount in exchange for Avios for flight, hotel, rental car and activity bookings.

Avios&Money is the program that allows you to book travel and hotels by combining Avios and money.

By flying with Iberia or its partner airlines you can earn Elite Points and access various levels:

  • Plata:
    • 1000 PE
  • Gold
    • 2250 PE
  • Platinum
    • 6250 o 12.500 PE in two years

List of Iberia partner companies:

  • Gruppo Iberia (Iberia, Iberia Express, Iberia Regional Air Nostrum)
  • Vueling
  • LEVEL
  • Binter
  • Compagnie oneworld®
    • Alaska Airlines
    • American Airlines
    • British Airways
    • Cathay Pacific
    • Finnair
    • Japan Airlines
    • Malaysia Airlines
    • Qantas
    • Qatar Airways
    • Royal Air Maroc
    • Royal Jordanian
    • S7 Airlines
    • SriLankan Airlines
    • Fiji Airways

What can BizAway do for your frequent flyer program?

With BizAway you will have all your loyalty programs at your fingertips! In fact, BizAway allows you to insert all your frequent flyer cards within the platform and continue to accumulate miles with all your bookings.

To sum it up

The main frequent flyer programs have free membership and allow you, if you are a frequent traveler, to earn miles that will give you the opportunity to take advantage of discounts or benefits.