Frequent flyer programmes are nothing new, but few realise that it was way back in 1988 that Airmiles were first introduced by Sir Keith Mills. The premise was simple; the more you flew the more miles you collected, which you could use against future flights to make them cheaper. Over time this has changed greatly in that now you can collect points without actually flying such as through credit cards that offer frequent flyer points.
Most airlines have some kind of frequent flyer points in place, and you can collect these through various means but in recent times, however, certain airlines have been criticised for the way they manage their points and how little discount you receive when you cash them in. There is an old saying that you never get something for nothing, and this seems to be particularly prevalent to flyer points, unlike the loyalty programmes offered by supermarkets etc.
This problem has been highlighted over and over again, and unless you are business traveller you are very unlikely to collect enough points to make any kind of substantial savings. For example, there was a report a couple of years ago about the Virgin Australia programme, and it worked out that you had to fly 13 times back and forwards from Sydney to LA to make enough points to cover one return trip. This
may not seem a lot but if you travel this route regularly it can give you a free trip, although you will have travelled thousands and thousands of miles to get it.
The general consensus now is that unless you are a business traveller, you are better off searching the cheap flight sites and watching out for sales rather than subscribing to these schemes, unless you have a credit card that gives flyer miles as a bonus when you make purchases. British Airways, Virgin, and easyJet all have their own credit cards which offer miles, and the amount and value vastly differs.
For example, the easyJet credit card is for anyone who travels frequently and if you spend £250 in 3 months you receive 4,000 miles which equates to £40 off a fare. This is a decent saving considering how flight prices seem to rise on a weekly basis, and as you can also use Nectar points to pay for easyJet flights they seem to have it pretty sussed.
The Jet2 points scheme seems simple on paper, until you go to redeem them and find there are only certain flights you can use them on and it can take a long time to accrue enough points to make it worthwhile. It equates to £1 per point but some flights you need 1200 points to be able to redeem them, and then your only saving is the base fare and you still have to pay all the taxes. Nevertheless, a saving is a saving at the end of the day, and despite their bad press at time, frequent flyer programmes have never been so popular.