It's almost like having a million free miles and nowhere to go. Travelers today are frustrated in their efforts to spend frequent flier miles with labyrinthine rules, blackout dates, and jam-packed airplanes blocking every attempt to cash in.
Charisse Jones, national business travel correspondent for USA Today, joined Carl Quintanilla on TODAY to offer fed-up fliers a guide to making the most of those miles they have piling up. The veteran reported admitted the complex—and constantly changing—rules and regulations are tough to keep up with.
"My mind is always spinning," she told Quintanilla.
(Read more: American Airlines trainee found on 'no-fly' list)
Basic math is part of the problem. The frequent flier programs, which American Airlines rolled out first in 1981 with 283,000 members, are bursting at the seams with hundreds of millions of fliers today. "But there are only so many seats an airline is going to make available 'for free' or as a reward," Jones told Quintanilla.
"Airlines have also cut back on the number of seats they're flying, period. They want to make sure their planes are full since an empty seat is a money loser."