FLY300 - Frequent Flyer Programs

Cover Image: Source

Frequent Flyer Programs are a way for airlines to recruit and retain loyal customers. Airlines know you have a choice when you fly and they would prefer you build up a sense of loyalty to them. To do this they offer incentives and rewards for continuing to give them your business. These are very lucrative for people who actually do travel a lot and once you have made it into the club, you can reap some incredible benefits. But there's a backdoor for these programs in learning which ones are the best for what and being able to leverage your relationship with each airline.

Earn Miles, Spend Miles, and go on awesome trips for wayyy cheaper than you normally would.

  • What are they?
    • Reward Program - Recruitment, Buy-in, Reward.
    • Status Recognition - Retention, Buy-in, Reward.
  • Concept of Currency
    • Think of a program's miles like a currency - Important when talking conversion and alliance redemptions.
  • Terminology

FLY 310 - Frequent Flyer Status and Currencies

Intro to Frequent Flyer Programs

  • Status Programs VS Rewards Programs
    • Air Canada Altitude VS Aeroplan & Distinction
      • Altitude - Tiered Status Program
        • Qualifying Miles Flown
        • Prestige 25K, Elite 35K, Elite 50K, Elite 75K, Super Elite 100K
        • Benefits
          • Lounges
          • Upgrades
          • Carrier Surcharge Waiver (YQ) on Rewards
        • Does NOT include miles from credit card sign-ups
      • Distinction - Tiered Rewards Program
        • Qualifying Miles Flown & Earned
        • dSilver 25k, dBlack 50k, dDiamond 100k
        • Benefits
          • Flight Rewards Discount (Market-Fare)
          • Bonus Miles
          • "Privileges" Special Events
        • DOES include miles from co-branded credit card signups and spend (TD, CIBC)

Frequent Flyer Programs useful in Canada

Third Party Programs

  • Air Miles
    • Expensive Short Haul (intra-province) and last minute flights
    • Alternative to domestic flights
  • CIBC Aventura (CIBC Rewards)
    • Domestic Options
  • RBC Avion (RBC Rewards)
    • Domestic and International Options
    • Conversion to Other programs

FLY 320 - Earning and Spending Miles


Use AwardWallet to track all your account numbers and mileage summaries. This link gives you 6 months of Award Wallet Pro for free.


Types of Programs

Spending Miles

FLY 330 - Alliances and Award Charts

Alliances and Partnerships Overview

Frequent Flyer Programs

Third Party Programs


  1. Signup for 3 major Canadian-relevant Programs
  2. Signup for Rocketmiles and/or Kaligo to earn bulk miles on Hotel bookings
  3. Get AwardWallet to track all your FF accounts and numbers
  4. Think of a major purchase you have in the next year
    • Find somewhere that you can earn miles with the purchase
  5. Think of One trip you want to go on in the next year
    • Calculate the mileage in 3 different programs
  6. Earn 1 point in at least 1 program in the next week