Next time you buy airline tickets, consider first if there is a way that you can get preferential treatment during and after your trip by joining an airline’s loyalty program. Here are five benefits of loyalty and rewards programs that you can take advantage of:
1. Air miles for buying tickets
By signing up for an airline’s program, you become eligible to earn points for the amount that you travel that can go towards future tickets or other purchases. For example, if you are purchasing a flight to India and book your United Airlines reservations online or through a travel agent and provide your account information, you could earn around hundreds or even thousands of free air miles. Those points aren’t enough for a free flight, but they add up quickly.
2. Air miles for using credit cards
Many airlines partner with banks to offer special credit cards that, when used for any purchase, contribute miles to your total. These work great as personal cards and even better if you are traveling on a business account but can still accumulate the miles under your name and use them for your personal enjoyment later. Legal and awesome.
3. Access to special rooms
Airports around the world have secret lounges that most of us know nothing about. These exclusive areas are generally reserved for first and business class passengers, or members of special loyalty programs. For example, those with Virgin Atlantic reservations may get access to 10 different swanky Virgin Clubhouses around the world.
On over booked flights or last minute reservations, those that are members of loyalty clubs always get preferential status in trying to scramble for the seats made available by last minute cancellations. This can make all the difference in your business or pleasure trip.
Given how unpleasant flying is for many people, little bit of luxury in the air is a nice bonus. If there are seats available in a higher class than your own, you might get bumped up into them at no extra charge. Be careful though—once you’ve flown first class, you might not be able to bring yourself to fly economy ever again.
When considering whether or not to join a loyalty program, you have to choose just how much these benefits are worth to you. Each airline has its own system, so shop around before deciding which one is right for you.