When you are traveling frequently, whether it is for business or leisure, you want to be sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck. With airlines increasingly stripping back more and more benefits in order to offer low priced fares, our tips below will help you get the most out of your travel without having to spend extra cash.
Use co-branded credit cards
There are a range of perks that you can gain from using airline co-branded credit cards, including additional airline miles, two-for-one tickets, free checked bags, and early boarding. Be aware that some cards do charge an annual fee, however, the benefits you usually get far outweigh any additional upfront cost of owning the card. It probably goes without saying, but check which airline flies the route you are likely to travel on most often so you know which card to apply for and you can start earning benefits more quickly.
Use your frequent flyer status
It is well worth being enrolled in airlines’ frequent flyer programs, which offer a whole range of perks including priority boarding, free checked bags, and lounge access to regular customers. As these programs don’t cost you any extra cash, you may as well enroll in as many as you can so that you can reap the benefits whatever your travel plans may be. Again, look out for which airline flies the routes you are most likely to travel on and try and prioritize this when booking – whilst it sometimes may cost you slightly more than flying with another airline, it is possible to more than makeup for this with earned miles and other benefits.
If you ever fly on an extremely popular route where flights are frequently overbooked, you should consider volunteering to switch to a later flight. If your travel isn’t too time-critical it may actually get you extra perks such as a free upgrade, travel voucher or extra miles, and sometimes you will only have to wait a couple more hours to catch the next flight.
Link hotel and airline rewards
There are a number of hotel chains that share rewards systems with airlines, whereby miles can count towards perks such as free room upgrades or complimentary wifi. For example, Delta is partnered with Starwood hotels, and United with Marriott, offering a whole host of extra benefits when you fly and stay, so make sure you link any rewards accounts to ensure you are earning the benefits across both!
You’d be surprised what additional perks you can gain just from being personable and friendly with airline staff. Checked baggage slightly over the weight limit? Be super-apologetic and understanding – they may just check it through without charging you any extra. If you suspect there are limited seat upgrades available and others who are frequent flyers, go and ask first! If you are polite and friendly, then airline personnel might take care of it for you there and then.
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Also published on Medium.