When I was younger, I got talked into joining the United Mileage program by getting a United credit card. The sign up included maybe, 25,000 in mileage rewards, which at the time probably would have gotten me a free one way flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
While I can appreciate that offer, it led to years and years of me paying a yearly card fee that ultimately far exceeded any free miles I earned or was given. Furthermore, it forced me to be loyal to a certain airline, which I’m sure often was more expensive than if I’d just searched for the cheapest flight.
Over the years, the ‘perks’ of the loyalty program dwindled. I could no longer give my mileage away to friends or family without paying a huge fee. I found out how limiting it was to find seats on flights using my mileage. I’d often have to pay more for flights that were more convenient to my schedule and the miles ended up, in general, just being a bust. Furthermore, I found United Airlines to have some of the worst customer service I’d experienced in my travels. They didn’t care if their loyalty program sucked… you were stuck by now. In for a penny, in for a pound.
One day about 5 years ago, I decided I wanted out. I cancelled my United credit card and decided never to pledge my allegiance to another single company again. It was an incredibly freeing. I could shop around for my flights without that crippling feeling of “the miles! I can’t just throw away those MILES”!! And just like that, travel got a wee bit easier.
On the flip side, let’s fast forward to the fact that I live on an island now. I have family on another island and frankly, when you live on an island, a 40 minute flight is the new, “let’s go on a road trip this weekend”. It’s a good change of scenery and since I’m an activities agent, it helps me build my business in the state to know the other islands’ activities.
So, I’ve signed up for the Hawaiian Airlines frequent flier program. It makes sense for me, however I have flown multiple airlines since joining. The fact that they don’t go everywhere on the globe helps me feel less beholden to them. Heck, I’ve even flown United again, since they had a flight that fit my needs.
If you’ve read my post with plus sized airline tips, you’ll know that being a super fluff, it’s my choice to fly first class when I can afford it, and I purchase two standard seats if I cannot. All I can say is that Hawaiian’s first class sleeper seats are an absolute DREAM. I’ve flown to New York and Los Angeles with them, and I sleep like a very happy baby and am very comfy.
Ultimately, my advice is for you to reevaluate your mileage credit cards. Are you using them enough that the yearly fee is worth it? For me and United, it wasn’t a good match, but me and Hawaiian are cruising smoothly. Also, remember there are travel credit cards that are just about TRAVEL and not a specific airline or hotel chain.