Ways to make the most of your travel rewards program

Ways to make the most of your travel rewards program – Shortcuts to loyalty

Most travelers count on loyalty programs to secure maximum benefits to get the most out of their travel. However, current loyalty and reward programs can be tough to rack up consistent points or miles if you are not familiar with the program. In fact, discount airline tickets or hotel stays actually begin to feel more elusive. Therefore, the first step is to become well acquainted with the ins and outs of the loyalty program and start collecting points or benefits like a pro.

Here are the shortcuts to earn loyalty across travel reward programs you should know about –

• Know the basic rules

The first rule of getting maximum value from a loyalty program is to pick one category you would like to build value with (i.e, airlines or hotels). Try earning more points in a single program instead of a few points across multiple categories. Also, pick a loyalty program that allows you to transfer points across categories. This way, you are able to pull points as needed, to a category of your choice, to help fill out your itinerary.

• Seek a tier
Membership tiers and points are two key rewards offered by the best travel rewards programs of 2019. Points can be earned every time you book a trip and then redeemed for additional benefits, merchandise, or upgrades. While points are great, status or membership tiers are the most coveted trends. You can hit status or membership tiers by accumulating a certain number of points or making trip purchases. Once you have reached a certain tier, you are entitled to free upgrades, travel benefits, bonus points and more. If you plan to travel a lot in a certain timeframe, ask your loyalty club about membership tiers and status benefits that you can earn on trips.

• Look for sign-up upgrades
Many reward programs offer better rooms with free upgrades for new members as a way of building customer loyalty. So, it is a good idea to join a loyalty program right before your stay and potentially earn reward points. You can also check with your credit card company to see if there are any additional benefits or upgrades to a higher membership tier through extra usage or card promotions.

• Airline bonuses
Most airlines have associated loyalty programs that enable you to earn and redeem points, so it is a good idea to check with your loyalty program and credit where you accumulate most points. It is important not to chase loyalty status blindly as key benefits are often centered on upgrades such as lounge access, business class upgrades, free meals and baggage rebates. Lastly, pick your primary airline you travel with the most and stay within your reward program every time you travel.

• Add the right card to the mix
Your card can be a powerful tool to help you maximize those points that you are earning. There are credit cards, co-branded cards, travel cards and more to choose from to kick off your point collection and also score those extra rewards. Finally, look into one-time bonuses usually offered during or shortly after joining.