Savvy travelers can rack up points and free travel on loyalty programs – if you know what you’re doing. If you haven’t signed up yet, join your fellow smart travelers to earn free flights, hotel nights, and car rentals. Let me show you how to get started.
Do a little research to best determine which airline, hotel, and car rental is best for your travel habits and desires.
- Airline Loyalty Programs
It really depends on where you live and where you like to travel. I’m based out of Charlotte, so it’s smart for me to join American Airlines Advantage Program, since Charlotte is a major hub for AA. Luckily, they serve many of my desired places so it was an easy decision for me.
- Hotel Loyalty Programs
Check out hotel websites like Marriott.com and Hilton.com. Look into their locations and price points of their brands to determine which hotel chain(s) will take you to the most destinations you have dreamed about experiencing. Just remember not every hotel group will take you to every place you want to go.
- Car Loyalty Programs
Do the same type of research for car rentals as you do for hotel loyalty programs.
Once you have determined, which programs are best for you, just sign up online. It’s free and only takes a few minutes of your time.
Stick to One Loyalty Program
For the greatest benefits, I recommend choosing one loyalty program from each category (airline/hotel/car). When planning my next destination, I research my airline, hotel, and car rental programs to help me decide which destination I can maximize the most rewards on flights, lodging, and car rental.
Choose Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Other smart travelers use credit card loyalty programs to earn travel points from purchases. Many credit cards give enormous sign-up bonus points. Signing up for a credit card is an easy way to jumpstart your travel points.
After I joined airline and hotel loyalty programs, I signed up with corresponding credit cards. Since you know I’m an American Airlines Advantage Member, then you know I have an American Airlines credit card in my wallet. I like the Starwood Preferred Guest program, so I have one of their American Express cards as well.
Maximize Your Purchases for Extra Points
When booking a flight or hotel stay, use that chain’s corresponding credit card to double or even triple your points. For instance, when you use your Marriott credit card during a stay at a Marriott property, you’ll receive double the points for what you spend during your stay.
Learn How to Redeem Travel Rewards
Rules on loyalty programs tend to get more complex as time goes on. Upping points to redeem rewards is a common practice for many programs. Keep up-to-date on programs to maximize your travel rewards, so read their emails when they get delivered to your inbox.
Start your research today! Take advantage of travel loyalty programs to get you to more places around the world.