If you are new to miles and points, the best thing is to figure out which one of these programs will offer the best redemptions at the lowest cost in both miles and taxes. Some airlines have fuel surcharges which can add a substantial cost to your award ticket. From the One World airlines, I use American Airlines, Qantas, British Airways and Iberia. No matter where you live in the world, it will probably work out best for you to use American’s AAdvantage program to accumulate your miles unless you are seeking status with an airline you frequently fly on. I am expecting that people attracted to this blog will be the sort who travel for leisure and are saving up for an aspirational trip to one of the great ecotourism spots in the world. If you are based in the USA (or even an expat American like me) it’s pretty easy to get huge credit card sign up bonuses and if you are based elsewhere, you can use American Express Membership Rewards to transfer to AA via Starwood’s SPG program.
Since I live in Australia, I also have Qantas because I get points simply for shopping at Woolworths and linking my phone and internet with Optus to them. Gotta love free points that just come from day to day living!
British Airways and Iberia both use Avios which can be excellent value for short hop awards such as domestic awards in the USA on American and Alaska Airways, Australia on Qantas and South America on LAN.
These links are also good if you want to check out an airline’s route map to see where they fly, join their frequent flyer program and see what you can do to earn miles by flying on partners, staying in hotel partners and patronizing their other partners such as credit cards, shopping malls, phone companies and survey companies.
This is a just a very brief overview of the One World alliance and there is so much more to learn. The best source of information is on FlyerTalk where each airline has its own forum, most forums have wikis or “read this first” posts to get you started. I will be going into some programs more in depth as the subject relates to building your ecotourism dream trip.