For anyone who's racked up frequent flier miles, points, and other perks from business travel days probably had the same giggle at a scene from Up in the Air where Vera Farmiga and George Clooney pull out all their cards to compare enrollment programs. Not to say my pals and I have never done this ('cause we have), but it reminded me of the uses even recreational travelers receive by joining free offerings. Even though I rarely travel for work nowadays, see the three tips about programs I still use and avoid status for the sake of status when you.
- Save Money: Simply signing up for some programs (especially car rental ones), can earn you automatic savings. Coupon codes and discounts are easy to come by and can make a big difference for even infrequent trips. Add in special "member-only" email discounts and there's quite the deal on your hands!
- Save Time: If you're traveling at a peak period or through a busy hub, need I remind you how nice it is to visit the specially designated line or swipe the rewards card in a machine to let you be on your way? Didn't think so.
- Get Returns: Here's the tricky part — what you get back. Realistically points are only good if you accrue enough . . . and if you actually use them. Unless you're clocking in a lot of on the road time, committing to one airline and one hotel chain whenever possible is definitely your best bet.