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Loyalty Programmes

One of the easiest ways to get closer to that exotic destination is by accumulating airmiles and hotel loyalty points. You primarily gain airmiles/loyalty points by flying directly with an airline/hotel, but their are other ways to obtain airmiles/loyalty points such as:

  • Signing up for a credit card, and spending money on that card
  • Staying at hotels and converting those loyalty points to airmiles
  • Earning airmiles/loyalty points on car rentals, and online store purchases

To earn airmiles/loyalty points at a faster rate, keep looking out for double / triple earn point specials, completing surveys with your airline/hotel, etc. Look at sites such as flyertalk.com, where they regularly post and discuss ways to accumulate points.

You can either spend airmiles/loyalty points directly with the airline/hotel that you have subscribed to, or on any of the airlines/hotels that the airline/hotel has partnered with. There are 3 major air alliances, that allow you to earn and spend airmiles on a specific partner:

  • Star Alliance,
  • BA Executive Club – a personal favorite as points never expire!
  • SkyTeam.

Keep a look out at air taxes and surcharges, which you have to pay on top of the miles you redeem. In theory, you get a better deal redeeming airmiles for longer international flights, instead of short domestic flights; or on seat upgrades to a better class.

There are a number of popular hotel loyalty programs, such as:

  • Starwood Preferred Guest (e.g. Hilton)
  • Gold Crown Club (Best Western)
  • Club Carlson (e.g. Radisson, Park Inn)
  • Priority Club (e.g. Inter Continental,Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn) – was a personal favorite until they quietly changed their terms (from a never expiring points policy), did not advise me, and I lost more than 100000 points.
  • If you are not staying in a hostel, try staying in a hotel with a loyalty programme. You will be surprised how easy it is to earn free nights, after just staying a few nights

It only takes a few minutes to sign up for those loyalty programmes, but you will be surprised on how rewarding it can be!

Check out http://thepointsguy.com/ for further info on earning and spending loyalty points.

About Zaid

Zaid is an intrepid traveler from South Africa that has traveled to all 7 continents. He loves to explore new destinations, experience new activities and go off the beaten path.
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