How Understanding Airline Flight Routes Can Score You Better Rewards

Would you want to earn rewards that can only be used at a store that has no locations near you? Of course not. Likewise, the best airline rewards program for you may depend on where you live, what airlines service your local airport, and where you want to go. (See also: Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards)

Understanding airline routes

Nearly all airlines today operate with a so-called hub and spoke network. This means almost all of their flights go to or from one or more of their key cities, called hubs. If you live in a hub city, then you’ll have access to nonstop flights to dozens of destinations using that airline. But if you live in a city without a hub, you’ll only have direct service to some or all of their hub cities. That means that if you want to travel to a destination other than a hub, you’ll have to change planes.

Most of the time, having to change planes is the difference between taking a quick morning or evening flight, and having to dedicate an entire day to travel. And that’s when everything goes smoothly. Every time you change planes, you increase the chances of missing a flight or having your luggage delayed or lost. (See also: Best Credit Cards That Transfer Points to Airline Miles)

A short list of airline hubs:


  • Charlotte

  • Chicago O’Hare

  • Dallas-Fort Worth

  • Los Angeles

  • Miami

  • New York La Guardia

  • New York JFK

  • Philadelphia

  • Phoenix

  • Washington National


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COO @oneqube | Angel Investor | Proud mom | Advisor @TheTutuProject | Let's Go #NYRangers
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