CoolRide Blog

Are You Making the Most of Your Loyalty Programs?

Posted by Steve Johnston on Wed, Jul 03, 2013

Don't Let LAX Transportation Be Your Only Luxury

LAX transportationFree flights. Free room upgrades. Free meals. All of these are yours for the taking with rewards programs. But you’ll only reap the benefits if you take full advantage of them. Many people don’t bother, and they end up missing out on many perks that could make their trips much better. This guide will teach you what you need to know, so that your entire trip can be as luxurious as your LAX transportation.  

Check Expiration Dates

The time window for free flights you receive will last for awhile, but it won’t last forever. Know when the flight will expire, and be sure to plan a trip accordingly. Less meticulous travelers may end up using their free flight at the last minute possible, but this can be a stressful venture that will cancel out the joy of having a free flight. Keeping track of your rewards will let you have a vacation that you can enjoy on your own time.

Don’t Be Fooled by Lower Prices

In rough economic times like these, it’s easy to be swayed to a cheaper airline or hotel chain that isn’t part of your rewards program. Choosing a different company could actually be the worse choice, however. If you select a hotel with a slightly lower price tag, you’re missing out on all the points you could collect by staying with a partner hotel. While the money saved may seem like it in the long run, consider the fact that the continuous use of your program partners will eventually get you a free hotel stay. Weighing your options, you’ll see that choosing the more “expensive” hotel is actually cheaper in the long run.  

Apply for a Rewards Card

Many loyalty programs include special credit cards. If you use them, you can accumulate even more points that will get you nice perks down the road. This means they have much more value than a regular credit card. Think about it. You could use a regular credit card for your purchases over six months’ time, and all you’ll get are the things you buy with that normal card. Or, you could use a rewards card, and not only get all the items and services you buy with it, but also all the perks of your rewards program.  

Investigate Affiliates

Once you have your rewards card, do a little research so you can plan when and where to use it. Airline programs often have affiliates that let reward members wrack up their points, even when they’re not on the road. Check the details of your specific rewards program. Eating at a certain restaurant or purchasing gas from a certain company can have a big pay-off in the end. 

Book Strategically

Sometimes you can triple your rewards by booking through the right means. For example, if you book with your preferred airline, use your rewards card, and make the arrangements with a booking site that offers rewards, that can triple the amount of points you get. Booking strategically can pile up the points for your account. 

Transfer Your Elite Status

Are you eying a different airline, or just wanting a change in your usual travel arrangements? If you want to transfer your loyalty perks to a different airline, it can be done—but only if certain requirements are met first. Some companies require fliers to purchase a ticket and fly within 90 days of their request for the switch-over. It’s a hidden benefit, but it exists. And as long as you’re willing to meet the conditions airlines ask of you, you can enjoy the perks of a loyalty program with a different company, without having to jump through the hoops of beginning completely anew.

Rewards programs will let you get more out of your trip, but the perks won’t magically appear. Make sure you’re taking advantage of all your chances for scoring points, and don’t be fooled by lower prices. Your rewards program offers much more value than a lower-priced hotel or flight. With a careful eye on your account and the right knowledge of where and how to spend your money, you’ll be lounging in style, enjoying first-class amenities, and soaking in VIP treatment in no time at all. 

Image Credit: Salvatorevuono/freedigitalphotos.net

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