15 Airline Perks You Can Get for Free. You’ll Love #3!

Airlines are giving away free flights, free upgrades, free drinks, free checked bags, and more. Why aren’t you receiving these freebies? You can! Airlines give them to frequent fliers. I’ll tell you what they are and how to get them.

It is easy to join a frequent flier program. And it is usually free. You can join online at your airline’s website, or fill out a form in the flight magazine. Choose the airline that you will fly the most. Then stick to that airline. This, of course, is the reason airlines give all these freebies away – they want your business. What are you waiting for?

15 Airline Perks You Can Get for Free

  1. Free first class upgrades. Who doesn’t want to fly first class? Receive upgrades for yourself and for your companions booked on the same itinerary. I wrote a separate post on 7 ways to fly first class for economy prices.
  2. Free seat upgrades. Move from squished regular economy seats to the roomier Economy Plus seats on airlines such as Delta and United.
  3. Free flights. Use your award miles to book free flights. The higher your frequent flier status, the more award tickets are available to you. United has the best record for available award seats.
  4. Free bonus award miles. Award miles earn increasing percentages of bonus miles with frequent flier status level. Beginning at 25% and up to 150% bonus miles, depending on your class of ticket.
  5. Free checked bags. Receive 1 to 3 free checked bags. Some airlines also give their frequent flier members more weight too, up to 70 lbs. I wrote a whole post on 10 ways to never pay baggage fees again.
  6. Free priority check in. Join the shorter line to check in at the airport.
  7. Free priority security screening. Many airports have 3 security screening lines: regular (long) and priority (shorter). In the USA, priority is not quite as good a TSA-Pre, but better than the other 2 lines.
  8. Free priority boarding. Boarding the aircraft first means there will be space for your carry on bags on a crowded airplane.
  9. Free priority baggage handling. Checked bags marked “Priority” are supposed to be processed first. More often than not, my checked bags come out in the first few minutes.
  10. Free priority customer service. Airlines have automated systems that sort callers by their frequent flier status. My calls are usually answered on the first ring.
  11. Fewer fees. Airlines now charges pesky fees for doing just about anything. Fees are less or non-existent for frequent flier.
  12. Free airport lounge access. Star Alliance and SkyTeam offer some frequent flier members free access to lounges on international flights. Many airlines offer discounted or even free domestic lounge memberships.
  13. Free privileges on partner airlines. Some of the above benefits are extended to you when you fly partner airlines of you frequent flier program airline.
  14. Free privileges at partner hotels. Delta offers Starwood (Sheraton, Westin, etc.) upgrades, late check out, internet, etc. to some of their frequent flier members.
  15. Free frequent flier status to others. Delta lets some frequent flier members gift a Silver or Gold status to someone else.

And one bonus: million mile clubs. Remember George Clooney’s character in the film Up In The Air? He hit a lifetime mileage status and raked in special privileges. I’m about to hit Million Miler with United. I’ll receive a lifetime Gold Status membership for myself and my wife, which gets me many of the above privileges without re-earning the status each year. Nice.

Are you ready to fly?

Question: What is your favorite frequent flier privilege? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

This is the third in a series of articles on traveling well for less money.  Here are the others:

1. 7 Ways to Fly First Class for Economy Prices
2. 10 Ways to Avoid Airline Baggage Fees
3. 15 Airline Perks You Can Get for Free 

    Keith is President of Creative Results Management. He helps busy leaders multiply their impact. Keith is the author of several books including The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.

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