Airline miles are reward programs offered by various airlines that allow an individual to collect points based on the distance and frequency flown on a specific airline. After reaching a certain amount of points, also known as frequent-flyer miles, an individual can acquire complimentary airline tickets.
In addition to air travel, many airlines allow members to acquire points through the purchase of hotel reservations and car rentals. These non-travel purchases also earn miles that can later be redeemed for plane tickets.
Points earned are credited to the member's account with the airline. These points usually reside in the account until they are used; Most airlines do not place date restrictions for point usage, as of 2015.
Certain rules and regulations are applicable in the earning of mileage points. Although another individual may pay for the ticket, mileage points are only credited to the account of the traveler. Points are earned on an individual basis; two different accounts cannot combine mileage points. The person with the ticket must also complete the actual air travel purchased; unused airline tickets do not amass mileage points.
Each airline has specific guidelines for their mileage programs. It is important to review policies to ensure the successful collection of mileage points.