August 8th, 2010

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A lot of my content is geared towards the 5 major US airline frequent flyer programs (American, Continental, Delta, United, US Airways). Collectively, they have millions of members and constitute a majority of domestic flights.

However, many frequent flyers have been switching to low cost carriers (like Southwest and AirTran) and boutique carriers (like Virgin America and JetBlue). Note: I refuse to call JetBlue and Virgin America low cost carriers, because their fares are routinely more expensive than legacy airlines and they generally provide better service (like a boutique hotel).

Understanding their frequent flyer programs become challenging, because they all have different currencies, whether its miles, points, or credits earned for each flight. In general, they are not distance based like the legacy carriers, but more flight and revenue based.

This week, I will highlight two different programs each day and add them to my scorecard section of my site (which will be rich with content by the end of the month), which will continually be updated as airlines enhance/devalue their programs. At the end of the week, I’ll rank them based on 1) flexibility 2) ability to earn/redeem 3) Value of awards

The Schedule-
MondaySouthwest Rapid Rewards, Sun Country UFly Rewards
TuesdayJetBlue TrueBlue, Spirit FreeSpirit
WednesdayVirgin America Elevate, Midwest Miles
ThursdayAirTran A+ Rewards, Frontier EarlyReturns
FridayWestJet Dollars, Porter VIPorter for all of my Canadian points junkies šŸ˜‰

I understand this list does not cover every non-legacy airline, so if you’d like me to cover another program, feel free to comment below.

I look forward to showing love to some of the red-headed step children of frequent flyer programs!

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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