Once we knew my daughter was looking for a college in the UK we knew were in for a lot of flights. Fortunately I have an excellent FICO credit score and so I started researching credit cards with miles. Some cards offer 50,000 miles (equivalent of $500 or more) if you can spend $3000 in 3 or 4 months and the annual fee might be waived for the first year. If you paid tuition using a credit card you already hit that limit in a month, plus you got the points for it. I applied for at least 2 cards over a 6 month period and cancelled one before the year was up so I did not have to pay the annual fee. I still keep one card that gives me 2 miles for every dollar purchased on the card.
The first year we had a total of 5 return flights, two for the interview in February (daughter + wife), one for the 20 day experience in UK school in June (daughter only) and two more for her arrival at college in September (daughter + wife).