How to Make the Most of Your Rewards Program Perks

 In News, Travel

travelrewardsAs a frequent business traveler you probably have a wallet full of rewards cards and points programs for everything from airline mile credit cards, executive club memberships, restaurants and hotels. With so many different programs to keep track of just remembering to pull out the card to stock up on your points can be hard enough, let alone figuring out how to use and redeem those points. Here are some simple ways to make sure you are maximizing your travel savings and getting the best perks of the programs you’re in without spending a ton of time and energy doing it.

When your company’s travel manager signs you up for reward programs, it’s often to save money on travel wherever possible. However, those miles are in your name, and that means you get to reap the rewards. When it’s time to take a personal trip, take a look at all the miles you’ve accumulated over the years to determine the scope of the benefit they represent.

Airline miles are the most typical frequent travel benefit and sometimes the hardest to use. Some programs have time limits and their points/miles may expire so be sure to browse through those email statements you receive to make sure you’re not missing your opportunity to cash in. Even if you only have a minimal amount of points on a particular airline or credit card, you can often redeem them for cash back credits (applied to your credit card balances), small amount gift cards ($25 gas, grocery or other retail store cards) or other smaller perks like free magazine or newspaper subscriptions.

Finally use these simple tips to make the most of your airline miles:

  • Check out the affiliate network of your airline miles clubs. Many airlines have partnerships with stores, gas stations, and even restaurants. When you make purchases at these affiliated locations, you can earn even more miles.
  • Remember that even when traveling for business your personal purchases are also added to your point total.
  • Make sure to also tie your personal credit cards to preferred airlines. If you have a favorite carrier, utilizing a credit card from them allows for free luggage, earlier seating and in some cases reduced enhanced seating.
  • Don’t forget to call your card’s customer service desk well in advance of a trip to assist you with information and maximizing your point utilization.

Hotel stays are the second biggest category of rewards programs and often the most overlooked by busy business travelers. If your travel manager has signed you up for reward programs with hotel chains, you’re set to start reaping the benefits. If you’ve only been signed up for one or two, take the necessary time to fill out the paperwork for additional chains. It might be a little time consuming, but there will come a time when you need to stay in one of those hotels for your business or personal trips, and you deserve the benefits of those rewards points.

Finally, credit cards are now synonymous with travel rewards for a variety of reasons. You should have several perks and rewards programs associated with your credit cards. Every time you travel, you’ll use that card, which means you can build up your points much faster than the average credit card user. In many cases, the corporate cards come with even bigger perks because so much more money is spent on them each month. Many credit card programs offer perks like concierge services, entertainment tickets, sporting events, and even more free airline miles.

Share your favorite frequent traveler reward program with us on Twitter @smartcars1 and on Facebook using hashtag #travelperks. We love hearing from your hard earned travel experience!

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