Pick a carrier, and sign up for its frequent flyer programs.
I knew that a substantial amount of my travel would be comprised of international locations, so I narrowed down my choice to the three U.S. legacy carriers. As I mentioned above, I chose Delta after researching the availability of direct flights on certain routes, the frequency of flights to specific destinations and average fares. It would behoove you to examine the hub and or headquarters of each of the carriers you’re researching, especially as it pertains to your travel needs.
Consider applying for your carrier’s affiliated credit cards.
The major carriers all have at least one affiliate card, and most of them have multiple options to suit your individual needs. The various cards offer a variety of incentives, including bonus points awarded for dollars spent on airline travel, complimentary checked-in airline baggage and discounted hotel accommodations. With some strategic planning, you could earn enough points on a single trip to start enjoying the benefits of membership.