How to stretch your dollar while traveling with kids

Any parent or guardian who first had to purchase an airline ticket for their child after flying for free as an infant understands the lack of enthusiasm, and sometimes money, toward having to fork over money for another seat.

Did you know your seat-paying child is eligible for a frequent flier account? It's a great way for your kids to earn miles and feel as if they belong to something. For the parent, take comfort in knowing the money you're spending on a flight may eventually work in your favor once they earn enough miles for a free flight. Next thing you know, your next trip is already paid for.

Certain airlines require you to keep your account active periodically or else the miles you have accumulated will expire.

Another budget-friendly travel hack is when and where you buy your tickets. Airfare bought at the customer service desk for Spirit and Frontier airlines are always cheaper versus booking over the phone or online.

For example, on a summer 2019 nonstop flight to San Diego for a family of four, I paid less than $200 altogether one way. Talk about a steal! Earlier in the summer, I purchased a roundtrip, nonstop flight to Detroit via Spirit and paid less than $35 for the ticket. My plans changed and I never went on the trip and was out $35. It's a lot easier to come to terms with saying goodbye to $35 as opposed to pay full price coupled with change fees.

Different studies and research has examined when the best days to fly are and the best time and date to buy a ticket. I have found that airfare is always cheapest on Tuesday. The difference is enough to care about keeping those extra dollars in your pocket for your trip.

Follow the provided links to enroll your child in a frequent flier program.

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards
  • FrontierMiles (Members under the age of 12 can only be enrolled by calling 888-839-4517)
  • United MileagePlus
  • American Airlines AAdvantage
  • Delta SkyMiles
  • Spirit Airlines Free Spirit
  • JetBlue True Blue (If you would like to enroll a child under 13 years of age in TrueBlue, make sure you are logged into your TrueBlue account, click on the "Enroll a Child" link in the navigation and follow the steps. You can also call JetBlue at 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583), TTY/TDD 1-800-336-5530.)
  • Allegiant Air MyAllegiant
  • AirCanada Aeroplan
  • Alaska Air Mileage Plan (Contact Customer Care at or call 1-800-654-5669 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday - Saturday)

  • All of the airlines ABC11 reached out to declined to give information on how many minors are enrolled in their loyalty program.

    Happy and safe travels!
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