For many the time of glamorous travel seems to be in the past, or at least this is the reality for the common traveler who is always looking for a good deal. For years an attractive part of traveling was the loyalty programs and the fun of accumulating miles and points that can be exchanged for free flights and hotel nights, but little by little this as well seems to be slipping out of our hands. Still we believe that being a disciplined traveler, balancing pros and cons of the different programs and accumulating as many miles and points as possible is something that is really worthwhile, but there are several things to keep in mind to made the most of any reward program.
Even free tickets are not as free as we think:
In years past it used to be that if one accumulated enough miles for a ticket or a hotel night one used to just get it. Now this is not always the case. There are many fees and taxes being charged to the traveler. It is a good idea to shop carefully, to compare, to be flexible about dates, to play with different combinations and one can end up getting great deals.
Credit cards with special promotions can be a great boost:
There are many perks going around associated with some specific credit cards. One has to be smart, the idea is not to go into debt to get a free trip, but to carefully examine all the promotions, and to take advantage of the good ones. A better credit always makes a traveler a target for the best deals associated with cards.
Be disciplined and collect as many miles as you can:
I belong to many different loyalty programs from hotels, to airlines, to car rentals and anything else that can be important for me as traveler. I am always amazed to see how many people waste their miles and they just simply do not collect them. Even if you have very little miles or points in a program, keep collecting them and in the future you will be amazed what you can do with them.
For hotel stays shop around!
In the segment of hospitality one will be easily amazed about how different the requirement of points can be from property to property. Typically United States offers very bad value for hotel stays with points. Southeast Asia offers some of the best values. One can get to stay for two weeks in a hotel in Malaysia for the same amount of points that one will stay for two nights in United States in a place of the same category!
Not all the days of the year are the same when flying with miles!
The difference between flying during some specific dates is a lot. When booking with miles I try to be as flexible as I can be. There are some segments that bring very good deals, a good example is flying inside Central America where a regular plane ticket is very expensive but getting the same ticket with miles is a real bargain!