Why you should always remember to sign up for loyalty programs

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As I am not traveling at this moment (at least not until in 10 days), I am trying to figure out what to write about here on My Travel Atelier. Our new home is just about ready to show off and I am dying to make a bunch of blog posts about the design and about where we got the inspiration from. But right now, in between travels and with an unfinished home, I am doing my best to find interesting subjects to write about. Please let me know if you have any ideas or wishes for some blog posts!

The other day I received an e-mail from British Airways saying that I had enough Avios (their bonus points) to travel to London and only paying the taxes and a little fee. I was super thrilled and immediately started to look in my calendar to see when I could go (just give me a hint of a travel and I get hysterically excited!). And in between searching for flights and checking my calendar, I got the idea of writing a post about why everyone should sign up to all possible travel loyalty programs.

I think that I have signed up to frequent flyer programs of almost all the airlines I have ever flown with and yes, it is maybe a bit overkill, but the benefits I have received are totally worth it. Keep reading and see why you should also sign up for the loyalty programs!

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I took this picture in Barcelona airport back in 2007 just before taking off for work (I worked as a flight attendant). Even though it isn’t very sharp, it has always been one of my absolute favorite pictures.

Frequent Flyer programs

Most airlines are members of an alliance, e.g. One World (British Airways, American Airlines, Iberia, Qater…), Star Alliance (Scandinavian Airlines, Lufthansa, United, Air Canada…), SkyTeam (AirFrance, KLM, Delta, AeroMexico…).
By signing up to a frequent flyer program of one airline in an alliance means that you will also get points when using other airlines in the same alliance. I for example have a frequent flyer card to SAS (Star Alliance), British Airways (One World) and Air France (SkyTeam). This way I am well covered whenever I fly and collect points for future trips.
Our round ticket with British Airways to Mexico gave us enough points for a trip to London only paying a minimal fee. You don’t want to miss that, do you?

Other airlines (mostly low cost) transform the points directly into cash you can deduct next time you purchase a ticket. This way you can ”save” for a ticket or simply get the cash discount on your next ticket. Last summer we slept in on our morning flight to Barcelona and had to buy new tickets for the same day as we had an appointment with friends there. The tickets cost us around 1000€ one way (yikes!!!! A terrible way to start a vacation by the way!). But at least we were frequent flyer members and gained enough cash points on those tickets to get two free round trip flights to Stockholm later that year.

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Flying over the Alps

Loyalty programs for car rental

We always hire rental cars with SIXT. First of all they are always located inside the airports and have the parking lots nearby, so you don’t need to take a transfer. From the very first time we rent a car with them we signed up and since then we have received vouchers with discounts, special offers etc. Many Frequent Flyer programs also offer points when you book with one of their partners, so that’s also worth checking out.

Shopping and earning points

Shopping and earning points at the same time sounds almost too good to be true. However, this is the case in many of the large outlets throughout Europe. With my British Airways frequent flyer program I have earned points while shopping at La Roca Village near Barcelona. It takes nothing to pass by the information counter to register your points and in return it gives you free flights in the future. So think about it next time you go shopping…

Simply check the airline’s website, find the frequent flyer section and there you will find a list of all the places they partner with.

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Colonial style hotel in Santiago de Cuba. February 2016.

Booking of hotels

Using the same hotel pays off. Most hotels or hotel chains have their own loyalty programs with discounts and bonus nights. However, if you for some reason don’t stay at the same hotels when traveling or don’t like hotel chains, you can also sign up on the online booking platforms and receive bonus nights there. We tend to book through Hotels.com where they offer every 10th night for free. This year we have earned three free nights, which we will use in Marrakech very soon.

Keep track of your programs, usernames and passwords

I have had my passwords reset on numerous occasions as I tend to forget them. But this was only until I decided to spend some hours to really get all my loyalty programs, usernames and passwords under control. So now I have everything listed in my travel notebook and can always find username and password in less than a minute.

I hope you have been inspired to check up on your loyalty programs or to sign up for them. As you would most likely purchase that flight ticket or hotel night anyway, why not get that extra benefit too?

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New horizons. Cadaqués July 2015.

Any ideas or thoughts you wish to share? Don't hold back, I love to chat :)

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