The 5 best frequent flier programmes in Europe
If you regularly catch red-eye flights for business, make sure you’re racking up miles with a rewards programme so that you can reap the benefits when it’s time to take a holiday. If you’re still booking your business travel the same way you book your personal travel, stop!
Today, we’re highlighting five of the best frequent flyer programmes in Europe. These days, most airlines are part of one of three major global alliances - the OneWorld Alliance, the Star Alliance and the SkyTeam Alliance.
In each case, you can earn miles by taking flights, and by booking with programme partners like hotels and car rental companies. In most cases, you can earn additional miles by signing up for a credit card with the airline’s banking partner - so you get more miles every time you use it.
Generally, you can then spend your miles on new flights, upgrades and on retail items offered by their stores.
To help choose the right one for you, we’re highlighting popular routes on each network, the perks they offer, and key features of their frequent flyer programmes.
British Airways Executive Club
If your work regularly takes you to and from the UK, the British Airways Executive Club might be the best frequent flyer programme for you. With an extensive network of flights from the UK around the world, it’s an ideal choice for regular business travellers.
The programme uses its own ‘currency’, known as Avios, which you can earn with a wide variety of partners. One popular feature of the Executive Club is the ability to pool points; up to six people in a family can share points in order to redeem offers - so you can quickly build up to a dream hotel stay if you have multiple frequent flyers.
Bronze members get priority boarding as a perk, while Silver members can access lounges and Gold members get First Class lounge access as well as spa treatments.
Air France KLM: Flying Blue
When Air France and KLM merged in 2004, so too did their loyalty programmes, resulting in one of the best frequent flyer programmes in Europe.
Perks of membership depend on what tier you’re at, and include priority access at the airport, seat selection choices, and extra baggage.
Lufthansa’s Miles and More programme, is part of the Star Alliance, which has more than 25 million members, making it one of the largest and best frequent flyer programmes in Europe. With 18 domestic destinations in Germany and over 100 international destinations, Lufthansa is a great choice if you do a lot of business in Germany.
One unique feature of this rewards programme is that you can have miles awarded retroactively - so if you forget to use your rewards card at the time, you can still claim your miles for up to six months later.
Turkey is often regarded as a gateway between Europe and Asia, so if your business regularly takes you to Istanbul and beyond, Miles and Smiles offers one of the best frequent flyer programmes in Europe.
As well as earning your miles, you get a bunch of fantastic perks like check-in at Business Class counters, free upgrades, extra baggage, and reservations priority. Turkish Airlines is regularly a big winner at airline industry awards, and travelling with them is considered very comfortable.
Just as Turkish Airlines is ideal if you want to do business in Asia, the American Airlines Aadvantage programme is the best frequent flyer programme in Europe for those who travel frequently to the US. With an expansive range of routes both within the US and around the world, it’s the ideal choice for people who do business in America.
As part of the oneworld network, American Airlines is affiliated with some of the top airlines globally, including Qantas in Australia, and Qatar Airways in the Middle East. It has more than 1,000 programme partners making it easy to collect points in your day-to-day life, and it’s banking partner is Citi.
So, which is it going to be?
If you’re booking flights on a regular basis, it makes sense to try and stick with the same airline as much as you can. Few industries reward customer loyalty as generously as the airline industry does - so it’s up to you to take advantage.
If you’re a member of one of the loyalty programmes mentioned above, leave a comment and let us know if it’s really one of the best frequent flyer programmes in Europe.
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