The Top Five Undervalued Airline Loyalty Programs

An airline loyalty program is designed to benefit the frequent flier that is constantly on the go by offering them incentives and rewards for using one airline or another for their transportation needs. This kind of a bonus is a true lifesaver at times as it can save on the price of airfare, hotel stays, and a number of other luxuries that an individual might want to enjoy with their well-earned rewards. Airline loyalty programs are a way to let the passengers know that they are valued and appreciated as they are in fact the reason why most airlines stay in business.

What is unfortunate is that over time the number of rewards programs that have emerged have begun to clash with one another, as various programs offer different benefits and incentives that may or may not be able to stack up to others. While one program might offer limited blackout dates on certain flights, another program might offer no blackout dates at all but a higher minimum amount of points that are needed to earn a complementary flight, hotel stay, or other luxury. Each program is tailored to the supposed needs and desires of their passengers, but quite often their offers will change out of necessity to remain competitive and offer what they can, not necessarily what the passengers want.

5. Avianca Club

Belonging to the South American Star Alliance, Avianca offers very reasonable awards and is known to sell miles with an impressive bonus of roughly 150 percent. This can provide a very advantageous way to buy LifeMiles during the bonus times so as to snag up those heavily subsidized flights for all Star Alliance affiliates. At this rate the miles go for almost dirt cheap, costing as little as $1.32 apiece, which means that round-trip coach trips to either Europe or North Asia could be anywhere from $2,000 to $2,400, which is relatively cheap in many regards. As an added bonus LifeMiles flights aren’t subject to the usual fuel charges and they can be booked online with relative ease. Despite the frustration that can come when needing to call LifeMiles for assistance, the program is highly rewarding and easy when it comes to the benefits earned.

4. Korean Air Skypass

Specializing in long-haul trips and regional travel, Korean Airlines offers an impressive product to its passengers. The service is exemplary and the seats are uniquely comfortable for long flights. Their Skypass program is just as impressive, but sadly it is overlooked quite often. A flier can up their balance by switching from programs such as Chase Ultimate Rewards, Marriott, or even from Starwood Preferred Guest status.

Among the many perks this program offers is that it is always able to provide a high level of availability for premium-class. If you do your research on any flight you take you are very likely to find at least four or possibly more first-class seats that are still available. Their award rates also stand as one of the best in the industry, but do take a very large number to manage a one-way or round-trip flight. They are also able to offer the perk of putting an award ticket on hold status for up to or even more than six months without the needed miles being available in a passenger’s account. There are some blackout dates to work around and the need to have family members approved of if you’re looking to use your awards for their seats, and there are also charges for fuel on this program. You will also have to fill out a form and fax it in to redeem your awards, but if you can jump through the necessary hoops this program is quite invaluable.

3. Air France/KLM Flying Blue

This program is highly undervalued largely due to the fact that many people simply don’t realize just how easy it can be to accrue miles with this option. Programs such as Express Membership rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Chase Ultimate Rewards all offer at this time a superior transfer between their programs and Flying Blue. The Starpoints transfer is typically set at 1:1:25 if you happen to maximize their 20,000-point bonus.

The ability to build a decent balance isn’t the only value that this program offers, as fliers can receive an impressive value when they redeem their miles using Flying Blue as well. For only 30,000 miles frequent fliers can schedule a round-trip flight to Hawaii from anywhere within the continental US. For 25,000 a passenger can book a round-trip to select Caribbean locations from within the US.

2. Asiana LifeMiles

This Korean airline is also affiliated with the Star Alliance. As such it has an impressive array of awards that are continually overlooked and undervalued. You might need a large number of air miles to redeem for their flights, but considering how fast air miles accrue this is no real handicap. Plus, the fact that you can earn a bonus of up to 5,000-miles every time you transfer 20,000 Starpoints, the value is hard to miss. Business fliers making their regular day to day trips can accrue their miles quite easily from one point to another, and are then able to redeem those miles for award tickets on one-way flights that are offered at half price of the regular value.

What needs to be observed however is that quite often tickets need to be reserved and received up to 3 days before the trip, which can cause a bit of challenge during the booking process. This is largely because some seats don’t typically appear until just about one to two days before the flight.

1. Free Spirit

This program usually caters to those who travel domestically and doesn’t go into a great deal of benefits for those needing to travel abroad. However, if you possess a Spirit Airlines World Mastercard it is possible to earn miles on every purchase you make with the card, which can be highly beneficial to the user. What is most unfortunate is that these miles become inactive if they’re not used after three months, and the program doesn’t offer a lot of top tier perks for their users. It is still a beneficial program for those who want to fly on the cheap and can wait just a bit for their rewards to be posted online.


There are usually good reasons why some airline programs don’t get noticed as much, but their benefits are often enough to entice enough frequent fliers to take advantage of their service. While most programs are designed to help frequent fliers enjoy their experience, some are just better at gaining the overall attention of their passengers.

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