Earning Miles Introduction

Video Time: 03:38

This video will give you a brief introduction on earning miles. I’ll explain the different methods of earning frequent flyer miles and the three major airline alliances.

I’ll also explain below…

In general, there are three different methods for earning travel points: flying, credit cards and other non-travel activity. If you want to earn the most points possible, it helps to use all three methods. Surprisingly, unless you fly A LOT (such as for work), flying is the least important option.

However, if you prefer not to use credit cards, you can still earn enough points for at least one flight each year. Basically, you should be able to earn 15,000 to 100,000 points (or more) each year depending on your strategies.

The Active Approach Made Less Active

Taking the active approach to earning travel points means spending more time searching for the best credit cards and other offers that appear on the internet. You sign up for all the best credit cards and take advantage of mileage malls, promotions, and other online offers. You pay attention to Aeroplan and other airline offers as they come up at various stores such as Rexall or when Air Miles releases promotions with companies like Safeway. You may also cancel credit cards and re-apply to score more bonus points. Re-applying for cards sometimes requires multiple phone calls with multiple agents to try and get the bonus points a second or third time.  The active approach takes more time but will earn you more points for your effort.

Why did I say the active approach is made less active? That’s because Canadian Free Flyer membership actually does most of the “Active” work for you. We’re the ones who will scour the internet finding deals and keeping you updated. The deal-alerts will take care of the research for you. All you need to do is open the emails, capitalize on the deals that work for you and take your dream trip.

Don’t Waste Money

Sometimes a deal will require you to spend money – such as an annual credit card fee or a purchase. I like to focus on free or cost-effective deals. For example, a $75 annual fee is worth it for 25,000 points but for 5,000 points it’s not. Also, don’t buy things just to get the points unless it’s really worth it. Instead, focus on buying things you already need or would buy otherwise and earn the points as a bonus. I won’t send you any deals I find to be a waste of money but I will occasionally send deals that require a purchase because who knows, maybe you need that item!

Don’t Hoard Points!

It’s not good to hold on to miles for a very long time. Airlines do go bankrupt from time to time and points do become devalued (just like money) over time when they are not used. Points can also expire if an account has no activity for a year (all point programs are different). It’s a much better idea to have a goal in mind and a plan to use them. Obviously, you need to save them up until you have what you need but if you don’t plan on using them for a couple of years, it might be best to book a trip for someone else rather than risk losing them. Don’t worry too much about this. Keep your account active and try to take a trip as soon as you can!

Airline Alliances

It can help to know which airlines belong to which alliances. This will give you a better idea of which airline/alliance to use for different destinations.

There are three main alliances:

  • Star Alliance (The world’s biggest)
  • OneWorld Alliance
  • SkyTeam Alliance

You can easily see which airlines belong to which alliances on their websites but I’ll list them here.

Star Alliance

  • Air Canada
  • Air China
  • United Airlines
  • Air India
  • Adria Airways
  • Aegean Airlines
  • Air New Zealand
  • All Nippon Airways
  • Asiana Airlines
  • Austrian Airlines
  • Avianca Holdings
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Copa Airlines
  • Croatia Airlines
  • EgyptAir
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • EVA Air
  • LOT Polish Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • Scandinavian Airlines
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • Swiss International Air Lines
  • TAP Portugal
  • Thai Airways
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Avianca Brazil


  • American Airlines
  • U.S. Airways
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Air Berlin
  • Finnair
  • Iberia
  • Japan Airlines
  • LAN Airlines
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Quantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Royal Jordanian
  • S7 Airlines
  • TAM Airlines
  • SriLankan Airlines


  • Delta Airlines
  • AeroMexico
  • Aerolineas Argentinas
  • Air Europa
  • Air France
  • Alitalia
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern Airlines
  • China Southern Airlines
  • Czech Airlines
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Kenya Airways
  • KLM
  • Korean Air
  • Middle East Airlines
  • Saudia
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Xiamen Airlines

That’s it for the major alliances. Take a look through these for a little glimpse into who is best for what destination.


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