Debut Author Lessons: Frequent Flyer miles

This entry is part 7 of 19 in the series Debut Author Lessons

Among the things I didn’t think about when entering into the writing business was the sheer amount of travel that I’d be doing.  Now, it is possible to be a writer without going to a bajillion conventions, but if you are going to travel do yourself a favor and sign up for a frequent flyer program.

Actually, to start out, sign up for programs with every airline. You’ll quickly realize that there is one that seems to cover most of your routes.  Once that happens, be consistent about booking with them unless the savings for that flight is huge.

Here’s the trick. Most of the time airlines are within a couple of bucks from each other.  By accruing frequent flyer miles, you get perks like upgrades to first class, free checked baggage, and — more importantly — free travel.

Two of my trips this year are from frequent flyer miles. That’ll wind up saving me around $800.

The other thing you can do which can help with travel expenses is to volunteer to be bumped. If you have the flexibility to change your arrival. As soon as you arrive at the gate, ask them if they need a volunteer. Most of the time, they won’t. But when they do, you’ll be at the top of the list for a free voucher.  It differs by airline, but you can usually use one of these to cover your travel for another trip.

Clearly the program will depend on where you are traveling from and to most frequently, but it’s a simple way to help ease some of the expense of travel.

Plus, did I mention upgrades to first class? Have a drink!

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4 Responses

  1. GlennS

    Ah, yes. I remember my road warrior days. Bump tickets are fun. So is upgrading to first. Not like the old days, where they were giving out first class like candy, but there probably are more bump opportunities these days… and free ALWAYS rocks.

    (If you’ve got the budget, some airlines – Alaska is one – will let you bump to first for $50 at check-in. Worth it sometimes. Which leads to another tip – always check-in online, just as soon as your airline allows. Even if you don’t go for First, you may get a better seat!)

    Sign me,
    Old road warrior

  2. Adam Israel

    For the upgrades to first class, do you have to put your name on the standby list in order to get the bump? I’ve never quite understood how that worked.

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