How to Use Miles When They Are Spread Across Different Airlines

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How to Use Miles When They Are Spread Across Different Airlines

Million Mile SecretsHow to Use Miles When They Are Spread Across Different AirlinesMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Akshay, writes:

I have my points and miles all over the place – 30,000 Delta miles, 35,000 American Airlines miles, and a few thousand with Frontier Airlines, Virgin America, and United Airlines.  What’s the best way to leverage them all to plan a trip?

In fact, I just got married and I’m planning a honeymoon.  Not sure where, but we’re open to any destination.

Congratulations on your marriage, Akshay!

How To Use Miles When They Are Spread Across Different Airlines
Where Can Akshay’s Miles Take Them for Their Honeymoon?

Akshay doesn’t have enough miles with any single airline to cover 2 round-trip tickets.  And you can’t combine miles between different airlines.

However, there are still ways to use the miles Akshay has to save money on their trip.

1.   2 Round-Trip Tickets Within the Continental US

Akshay can book 2 separate round-trip flights on different airlines to a romantic destination anywhere in the continental US.

A round-trip coach flight within the US costs 25,000 miles on American Airlines and Delta.  So Akshay has more than enough miles.

But keep in mind, it’s sometimes difficult to find award seats on Delta.

How To Use Miles When They Are Spread Across Different Airlines
Take 2 Separate Flights to New York (Or Anywhere Else in the US) and Together You Can Enjoy Romantic Walks Through Central Park, Broadway Shows, and More!

While it’s not the most romantic route, this could make a trip that you otherwise may not be able to take, possible.

2.   Buy 1 Ticket and Get 1 (Almost) Free

If taking different flights doesn’t interest you, you could use your American Airlines miles or Delta miles to book 1 award flight and pay for the other.

For example, if you travel to the Caribbean or Mexico between September 7th, and November 14th, you can book 1 round-trip coach flight for just 25,000 American Airlines miles.  Then pay for the 2nd ticket with cash.

How To Use Miles When They Are Spread Across Different Airlines
Fly From the US to Jamaica Or Other Caribbean Destinations for Half Price By Using Your Miles to Get 1 Flight Free

Another option is booking an off-peak award flight to Hawaii on American Airlines for 35,000 miles round-trip between January 12 and March 13.  Or August 22 and December 15.  And buying the 2nd ticket.

3.   Earn More Miles & Points

Or you may want to collect more miles and points to open up more options for your honeymoon.

I recommend folks set travel goals before they start earning miles.  That way you don’t wind up with airline miles that you’ll never use.

There are lots of ways to earn American Airlines miles.  And you can earn Delta miles with cards like the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Expresswhich currently has a limited-time bonus of 50,000 Delta miles after you complete the minimum spending.

How To Use Miles When They Are Spread Across Different Airlines
With More Miles & Points You Can Book the Honeymoon You’ve Always Dreamed Of!

But folks who aren’t certain of their travel plans will benefit from collecting flexible points.

You can earn AMEX Membership Rewards points with cards like:

Personal CardsBusiness Cards
Premier Rewards Gold Card From American ExpressThe Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressThe Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express
Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit CardThe Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN
AMEX EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express


Business Green Rewards Card from American Express OPEN

Or with the following cards you can earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points:

Personal CardsBusiness Cards
Chase Sapphire ReserveChase Ink Business Preferred
Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Ink Business Cash Credit Card
Chase FreedomChase Ink Bold (No Longer Available to New Applicants)
Chase Freedom UnlimitedChase Ink Plus (No Longer Available to New Applicants)
Chase Sapphire (No Longer Available to New Applicants)
Note: Points earned from the Chase Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, Sapphire, and Ink Business Cash cards can only be transferred to travel partners if you also have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, Ink Business Preferred, Ink Plus, or Ink Bold card.

Stay for Free Too!

Link:   Hot Deals – Hotel Credit Cards

With hotel credit cards, you can earn points for a free hotel stay.  Check Award Mapper and Hotel Hustle to find hotels at your destination that you can book with points.

There are lots of was to earn points for free stays at hotel chains like Hilton and Hyatt.

How To Use Miles When They Are Spread Across Different Airlines
You Could Spend Your Honeymoon Kicking Back in the Pool at the Grand Wailea, Maui

You can also check out my post on how to decide where to stay in Hawaii using hotel points.

Bottom Line

If you want to book 2 round-trip award flights but don’t have enough points with a single airline, you can NOT combine miles from different airlines.

However, there may still be ways to make your trip work.  For instance, you could book 1 round-trip award flight and pay for the other, which will still save you a lot of money!

But if you spend time earning extra miles or flexible points like AMEX Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, you’ll have a lot more options.

Thanks for your question Akshay!  Enjoy your honeymoon!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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how can I get the cheapest way to Israel and back?

How can Amex membership Rewards works with Chase Ultimate Reward? because Im planning to go to Milan in low season with my daughter and i need more miles for the round trip option. I have the Chase Freedom and Sapphire Preffered cards as well.Can any give me any recommendations to make this possible ? I want to learn how to get free nights with a hotel credit card. Any suggestions?

@Karen, choice one is 2 separate round trip tickets flying separately. Also, if they have enough miles for 2 round trips then by definition they have enough for 4 one ways.

I read “you could book 1 round-trip award flight and pay for the other” as I book one flight with miles and I buy the same flight off America/United/Delta, etc. Not that we are not flying together.

Or they could book 2 one way tickets on American and 2 one ways on Delta for the way home. If they’ve got enough miles to do that sort of thing, which it doesn’t really sound like they have.

Yes, I also recommend two sets of one ways. We are doing that with a large group to Jamaica so that we can all fly together.

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