Tempted to join an airline’s frequent flyer program?

The prospect of enjoying first-class travel — all hot towels and champagne — definitely has its appeal, but is that really what you should expect?

And with so many airlines competing for your money with their own rewards programs, how do you know which to choose?

Below, we’ve put together a brief guide to three of the biggest airlines’ programs to help you get started!

Loyalty Program #1. American Airlines

This globally-recognized airline operates the AAdvantage program. Frequent flyers have four elite status levels to progress through: Gold; Platinum; Platinum Pro; and Executive Platinum.

As you can see, American Airlines clearly understands just how powerful the word ‘platinum’ is!

However, before you can actually reach the lowest level you’ll need to earn 25,000 qualifying miles and $3,000 in qualifying dollars.

Want to get right to the top? Executive Platinum customers are expected to earn a staggering 100,000 miles — so it may take you some time.

Loyalty Program #2: Delta

Delta Airlines SkyMiles uses ‘medallions’ instead of levels or tiers. Four are available to the most loyal customers — Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond.

To achieve a Silver medallion, you’ll have to earn 25,000 MQMs (Medallion Qualifying Miles) or 30 MQSs (Medallion Qualification Segments, based on the number of flights you catch).

Gold requires 50,000 MQMs or 60 MQSs. Platinum asks for 75,000 MQMs or 100 MQSs, and Diamond demands 125,000 MQMs or 140 MQSs.

Perks include complimentary first-class upgrades, waived baggage fees, priority check-in, priority boarding and expedited baggage service.

Loyalty Program #3: United Airlines

As a member of the well-known Star Alliance system, United Airlines runs the MileagePlus program.

There are four tiers to advance through: Silver; Gold; Platinum; and 1K. To start from the bottom, you’ll need to earn 25,000 qualifying miles and spend $3,000 in qualifying dollars, while 100,000 qualifying miles unlocks the high 1K tier.

Rewards include instant upgrades on Y-, B- and M-class tickets, priority check-in, priority boarding, access to the lounge for international flights, waived same-day changes to flights, waived or reduced deposit fees, priority award waitlisting and more.

As you can see, each of the three major airlines above operates an impressive loyalty program, but it’s vital that you spend time researching any that catches your eye before you join.

Make sure you read the small print and understand what benefits you’re actually likely to receive in exchange for your money. Remember: just because a perk is available doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to earn it.

Of course, you can always sell air miles to other flyers instead!

How to Sell your Air Miles

Opting to sell airline miles is a terrific way to earn rewards from your accumulated miles, only as cash. Selling yours is fast and easy here at The Miles market, no matter which airline you’re with.

Just fill in our form, submit a few key details and let us handle the rest. We’ll come back to you with a quote for your miles in minutes — what have you got to lose?