The Surprising Benefits of Joining Travel Loyalty Programs—Even for Infrequent Travelers

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 14, 2024 18:30 PMNews
Two women talking while looking at laptop computer
Two women talking while looking at laptop computer. Source: unsplash

Signing up for travel loyalty programs might seem like a hassle, especially if you don’t travel frequently. However, the benefits of enrolling—even at the most basic level—can make your occasional journeys more enjoyable and cost-effective.

Why Sign Up?

Even if you travel sporadically, joining a travel loyalty program can yield tangible perks that enhance your travel experience and offer potential savings. Here's a breakdown of some advantages:

Points and Miles Accumulation

Joining an airline, hotel, or car rental loyalty program allows you to start accumulating points or miles with each trip, which can be redeemed for future travel. For example, airlines like British Airways and United permit the pooling of miles among family members, making it easier to gather enough for a significant reward. Similarly, hotel rewards programs offer point accumulation that could translate into free nights or room upgrades.

Streamlined Services

Many loyalty programs provide streamlined check-in processes, priority boarding, and even expedited rental car services. For example, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members can bypass the regular check-in line, a time-saver during peak travel times.

Complimentary Perks

From free in-flight WiFi offered by Delta SkyMiles on domestic flights to complimentary hotel WiFi and waived resort fees through programs like Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors, these perks can enhance your travel experience and reduce costs. Early check-in and late checkout options are also available through various hotel loyalty programs, offering greater flexibility during your travels.

Special Discounts

Beyond travel-related services, membership can also entail discounts on other purchases, such as car rides with Lyft for Delta SkyMiles members, enhancing the value of every dollar spent during your travels.

It's Easier Than You Think

Signing up for these programs is generally straightforward and free. Once you're a member, ensuring your membership number is included in your bookings will automatically accrue benefits and points. This simple step can lead to accruing enough perks that could substantially enhance your travel experience without any additional cost.

Considerations for the Infrequent Traveler

If you're an infrequent traveler, it's essential to choose programs that fit your lifestyle and travel patterns. Consider programs where points do not expire quickly, or those that offer benefits you're most likely to use, even if you don't travel often. For example, if you prefer a specific airline or hotel chain, look into their loyalty programs first.

Final Thoughts

The advantages of joining a travel loyalty program can significantly outweigh the minimal effort of signing up. Whether it’s earning points toward a dream vacation, enjoying a smoother travel experience with priority services, or indulging in special perks, the benefits are tangible. Next time you book a flight, hotel, or rental car, take a few extra minutes to enroll in their loyalty program—you might be surprised at how much value it adds to your travels.

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