If there is one traveling tip I wish I had taken seriously years ago, it is to sign up for everything.
What I mean by this is:
-sign up for hotel rewards programs
-enroll in frequent flyer miles
-become a preferred car rental member
If you travel more than once a year, it is really a no-brainer. Though it seems like a nuisance giving out your email and information, everything truly does adds up. With my frequent flyer status at United, I automatically get express check in, free checked luggage and an automatic spot to the first class upgrade list (which I’ve taken advantage of many times!). For so long I neglected to sign up, and I definitely wish I did sooner.
Don’t be turned off from signing up if you don’t travel often! With some programs, rewards start right off the bat, before you even accrue points to gain status. For example, immediately when you sign up for Hertz , you can take advantage of some gold member status perks, which include express check in at the gold member service counter to pick up your car. At a low activity location, this may not make a difference, but at a busy center, this is huge! A few years ago I rented a car in LA over memorial day weekend and did not sign up for the gold member status (my young ignorant ways). I waited in line for almost TWO hours at LAX to get my car! All while the gold member service counter had no line at all. Signing up would have saved me so much time and frustration.
(I want to note I am referring to free rewards only. Not credit cards, paid memberships, or anything with fees. While these may very well be worth while programs, I typically don’t sign up for these things and have no personal feedback around them.)
Once you start signing up, you may find yourself breaking an arm and a leg to stay or fly with the company where you are a member. (I do this for United all of the time). Booking with the same company as much as possible is a great strategy to get the most of your membership. It does hurt to give up an opportunity for points, but sometimes the cheaper option is the way to go. So don’t sweat it you lose an opportunity for points because your preferred hotel is sold out, or the flight you want is too expensive.
Whether you travel little, often, far, or near always travel wise!
**extra tip: make sure to find out the steps, process, and all account benefits to take advantage of your membership! some perks may have to be proactively asked for, and may not automatically take affect unless you’re aware of them!**