They're often considered a perk to expat life, collecting these great little air miles that allow us to get discounts, upgrades and more!
16 June 2013| Last updated on 12 March 2020
Frequently flying? We share the best ways to earn, save, and spend your air miles.
What we call "air miles" are in fact separately operated loyalty programs that can be found in various countries across the world. Particularly popular in the Middle East, points are earned on purchases at participating merchants and can be redeemed against flights with specific airlines.
All in all, it's a rewards program and helps to make those long-haul flights that we as expats are used to feel a little bit more bearable.
Living as expats, we all seem to collect air miles quickly - it's inevitable that we travel a lot more than the generic one-trip-a-year most people are accustomed to. We travel for work, for pleasure and most of the time, to see our families elsewhere around the world.
And the best thing is with an air miles loyalty scheme, a lot of major worldwide airlines use them, including the Middle East's most popular airline carriers - Emirates, Etihad, and FlyDubai. Airlines across the globe have their own form of the air miles club. The list is endless.
So go on and chase the best benefits from your travel points with our guide to maximising your miles rewards.
How to collect air miles
You can collect air miles per flight, and this isn't limited to one major airline.
Mainstream airline companies such as Emirates and Etihad have a myriad of airline partners where you can also earn air miles by flying with them. For example, Emirates has Korean Air and Qantas.
Passengers earn miles based on the travel distance you fly with the airline, so safe to say that the farther your destination is, the more points you'll receive. The type of seating class also plays a role in how much air miles you earn. For example, a flight from the UAE to Australia on Business Class will no doubt earn you more miles than the same flight but on Economy Class.
You can even collect some air miles while using your credit card from participating banks. Each airline carrier with a loyalty rewards program has deals with several banks, earning you miles per dirham spent locally or abroad.
Some retail, dining, and leisure outlets across the UAE and around the world reward you with air miles for spending.
There are several airlines that allow you to purchase a top-up on air miles regardless of whether or not you're flying or purchasing goods or services.
Be on the lookout for promotions where flight bookings, retail, dining, and leisure purchases reward bigger air miles. Limited-time events include multiplier days where you can earn anywhere between twice or even up to ten times the usual number of miles you would earn for the same purchases.
Redeem your air miles wisely
When you want to spend your travel points, consider the trade-in value of your miles for a free flight ticket.