Monday, April 18, 2016

Why child miles collection program is a good idea

If you fly frequently, whether for business or pleasure, you're probably familiar with miles collecting program. There are the ones that are provided by alliances that consist of many airline companies such as Miles and More program from Star alliances and Frequent flyer program from Skyteam; or individual programs by companies such as Miles and Smiles from Turkish airlines or Skywards from Emirates. My husband and I prefer Miles and More simply because it consists of the air companies we frequently fly. Mostly we fly Turkish airlines for Indonesia, or Croatia airlines for domestic flights, or Lufthansa for European flights; and all of them are member of Star alliances, so we collect miles from all their flights.

So it works this way: whenever you fly with any of their member companies, you're awarded with certain amount of miles depending on your booking class. If you collect enough miles, you can use them to buy another flight, to book hotels, to rent cars, or to buy things. Simple enough.

We usually spend our miles on hotels, so we get free hotel stays somewhere. A few years back before baby girl, we spent our first miles together to get a hotel stay in Vienna for a weekend getaway. Once we also get free stay in Brussels for some city break. Since baby girl, we have used it three times as far as I recall, four night stays in Athens last summer, then in Bali and lastly in Yogyakarta. For each hotel stay usually they require minimum of 10.000 miles per night, but the range differs greatly depending on your destination and the hotel type.

Enjoying the infant pool at the Swiss-belhotel in Bali
For Bali we managed to collect enough miles to treat ourselves a night of lavish stay in a hotel for which my husband said, the third most luxurious hotel he ever slept at (the first being the Crowne Plaza in Amsterdam and second being the Westin in Milan). This one belongs to the Swiss-belhotel chain in which a member of staff presented us with neatly rolled freezing towels on beautiful tray upon arrival at the check in desk (it was around 36 degrees Celsius outside). It probably felt better because it was a free stay though. The other three nights we stayed at a much less glamorous hotel I booked through my favorite booking site.
Exploring Prambanan temple near Yogyakarta
When we got to Yogyakarta we exchanged another set of miles for a free two-night stay at a hotel in the center of the city. It was okay, easily accessible, has a pool, and offered wide selection of breakfast. Although we don't always get extra luxurious hotels, free hotel stays are a great expense cut for every trip. If you're travelers without kids, of course community room sharing like couchsurfing is always a great option. But since a child was added to our trips, hotels have been more convenient to us.

Not until recently that we found out you can actually sign up minors (under 18) for miles collection program. This is quite logical because, once your child turns two, you have to buy him a ticket of almost full price, so why not collecting award miles? I found out that Miles and More (through JetFriends program) and Miles and Smiles (little Heroes) offer parents to sign their minors up for the club and they will be able to claim all award miles they collect once they're 18 year old. Who knows how many flights your child would fly in the 16 years time span? Probably a lot. Probably by the time they turn 18, they could claim a free transatlantic flight, or a week of hotel stays on an exotic island, or a cool extra light unbreakable four-wheeled luggage. They'll thank you!

Note: Check with your credit card issuer

I got this Amex card that is linked with my Miles and More membership, which rewards me with miles for everything I spend and charge on the card. So the miles collected from the payment could be combined with the miles collected by flying, which makes collection goes faster for claiming for a reward flight or hotel stay :)

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