Most people are always reluctant to participate in frequent flyer programs. To them, it seems like a way of guaranteeing more spam emails, and they never believe if there is any real benefit associated with these programs.
I used to share same beliefs until my travel M.O was to use a discount airline site and the most affordable option I could find became my chosen airline. In 2014, my work travel requirements for my company Caffeinated increased dramatically, and I finally opted to make a commitment.
I checked many legacy carriers, and after examining my travel requirements for work and also the frequent holiday trips I take, like my recent trip to Maggie Valley, I chose Delta and its affiliates as they offered excellent flight options fit for my specific travel needs.
By the end of 2014, I had become a Delta American Express credit card owner. Surprisingly, between my frequent flights and equally regular credit card charges, all my miles and benefits were racking up quickly.
Well, I am a frequent flyer and someone who often responds to emails inquiries. Over the last few months I have been traveling, I realized so many invaluable business-related benefits associated with these programs.
One thing I noticed was the dramatic increase in my work-travel productivity due to the benefits such as business centre amenities, third-party promotions, and more.
Besides, I realized that though video chat programs are very valuable, they can never be a perfect substitute for sitting across the table with someone as you discuss business issues and shake hands to seal business deals, although travelling does seem to help my mental state.
We all know that globalization can’t be stopped and as the world becomes more connected, it’s important that you maximize every moment during travel and ensure that you arrive at your destination in a condition where you can carry on with your activities.
That said, here are three ways to make the most out of travels in 2018.
1. Choose a carrier and register for its frequent flyer programs
As mentioned earlier, I know most of my travels would comprise of international destinations. Thus, I narrowed my choices down to the three United States legacy carriers. After researching on the availability of direct flights on specific routes, their average fares, and frequency of flights to particular destinations, I chose Delta. Therefore, it’s advisable for you to research more about your preferred airlines and choose one.
2. Apply for your preferred carrier’s affiliated credit card
Note that all major airlines have affiliate credit cards. Most of these airlines have various options, and you should choose one that suits your needs.
Different affiliate credit cards are associated with varying incentives such as bonus points awarded for every buck you spent on the airline travel, discounted hotel accommodation, and complimentary checked-in airline baggage. That implies that with a great travel plan, you can earn enough points on one trip and start enjoying these benefits associated with the travel membership.
3. Consider exploring third-party programs
As a person who has been traveling and enjoying the benefits of these programs, I strongly advise that you should explore the third-party partnerships provided by the airline and its co-branded cards.
Note that most of these companies offer discounted rates on almost any service right from hotels and rental cars to gym memberships and courier services. As your necessity to travel increases, you will realize that something simple like a gym near your hotel is invaluable to your health and overall well-being.
Here are more tips.
Understand your habits
It’s worth understanding that reward cards often come with additional perks and bonus opportunities above the base points accrual. Therefore, it’s wise to check the benefits and ensure they fit your travel and spending habits.
For instance, if you rarely travel, then, high-end travel benefits such as elite airline status or lounge access won’t be valuable to you. Besides, if you don’t spend a lot with your card, then, using the earned bonus points doesn’t make sense in your situation.
Remember, not all points are the same
The accrual rate isn’t an accurate measure of how much your card is worth since to all bonus points are equivalent in value. Overtime, I have realized that this is the top reason most travellers opt for a proprietary card rather than competing cards.
Focus on getting the best redemption value by picking a card with a right combination of accrual rates and perfect point requirements for the rewards you want. I strongly advise that you should do the calculations.
Focus on understanding the conversion rate associated with the loyalty program, compare this rate with that of other loyalty programs and choose the right option for you.
Regardless of the carrier service you choose, it’s crucial to research to discover the option that makes sense for your situation and can help you make the most out of your travel benefits in 2018. The tips discussed in this will help you.
Bio: Richard Dean is a Director at Caffeinated, one of the fastest growing link building and content creation agencies. He has started and invested in a number of startups since 2008, but found his real passion with digital marketing.