I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

This is the twentieth post in a monthlong series that started here. Each post will take about two minutes to read and may include an action item that takes the reader another two minutes to complete. I am writing this for an audience of people who know nothing about frequent flyer miles, and my goal is that by the end, you know enough to fly for free anywhere you want to go.

I’ve covered how to earn miles and the redemption options for miles. Now I’m giving the basics of several international airline programs which are transfer partners of one or more of the following types of points:

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints
  • Citi ThankYou Points

I think of these international airlines programs as niche programs. Most of their redemption options are terrible because of fuel surcharges, but a few redemptions with each program are great because of no fuel surcharges or a super cheap miles price.

Know the great options in each program to save yourself miles and cash by maximizing these programs:

  • Singapore KrisFlyer (UR, MR, SPG, and TY)
  • Air Canada Aeroplan (MR, SPG)
  • Lufthansa Miles & More (SPG, also the only one of these programs that offers a big 50k sign up bonus on an American credit card every few months)
  • ANA Mileage Club (MR, SPG)
  • Air France Flying Blue (MR, SPG)
  • Korean SkyPass (UR, SPG)

Why Collect These Miles?

Most of these programs have a sweet spot that lets you book the same flights for fewer miles than if you used United or Delta miles. For instance, pay 30,000 Singapore miles each way in First Class between the continental United States and Hawaii instead of 40,000 United miles.

Korean, Singapore, and Lufthansa miles allow the booking of mind-blowing First Class products you can’t book with Delta and United miles.

  • What airlines can you fly with these miles?
  • What are the routing rules for these awards (stopovers, open jaws, free one ways)?
  • What are the special deals in each program?
  • What about fuel surcharges?

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Updated as of 9/8/14 with current prices on Delta award chart (screen shots show old prices)

Delta SkyMiles get a bad rap–very deservedly so–for the lack of low-miles-price award availability that Delta releases, the fuel surcharges Delta charges on awards, and the fact that you can’t redeem miles for oneway awards at a fair price.

But it does not follow that Delta miles are worthless. In fact, you can get great value and do some pretty cool things with Delta miles.

  • What are my top choices to burn 160k, 140k, 125k, 92.5k, 60k, and 25k SkyMiles?

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I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Pop quiz, hot shot: What is the only airline with a direct flight between Los Angeles and Sao Paulo?

Korean Air

Three times a week, a Korean Air 777-300ER flies from Los Angeles to Sao Paulo on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays. The return leaves Sao Paulo on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Redeye outbound, daytime return

This flight isn’t just a novelty. It’s a legitimately great use of Delta SkyMiles–the least valuable and most reviled currency among the legacy airlines. Learn how to get on the flight yourself after the jump.

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