Updated: Jul 15
You can be missing out on free travel. Here’s how:
One key way you are missing out on free/discounted travel, is by not joining the rewards programs! Most rewards programs don’t cost you a dime. In fact, they save you some money. We love traveling on a budget, but nothing’s more rewarding than earning free travel! I’ve listed a few my favorite memberships. If the rewards program is free, I’m joining!
This lovely view and amazing goodies came from my last free reward night with Hotels.com. I was able to get a free night stay at the Innside Hotel by Melia at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris. It was such a comfy stay for a long layover.
Most hotel booking sites have rewards program. They go by a earn-as-you-stay system. Hotels.com’s rewards program rewards you a free hotel night after booking and staying 10 nights through hotels.com. The free night is applicable to any hotel that allows you to collect rewards nights. The average dollar amount you spent over the course of 10 nights, is the amount towards your free night stay. 10 days may seem like forever to reach. However, if you think about it, if you take 2 1-week vacations in a year or 5 3-day vacations, you’ve already accumulated a free night.
Sometimes, hotels have their own rewards program like Accor hotels, Hilton, or Hyatt. LeClub Accor gives up to 10% off your booking for members and have budget-friendly hotels in most cities. Members also have fast check-in and check-out, which comes in handy if you’re running in the morning to catch a train or rushing to get to bed. The more you stay or spend with them, you will advance in membership status, opening the door to new benefits. They also have partnerships with other companies, such as airlines, banks, and rental car companies. You can use your dollars spent with their partners, as points toward your LeClub Accor membership status. Click here for more benefits per status.
Most airlines also have rewards programs. You can receive a free one-way flight after flying a certain amount of miles. For example, American Airlines gives a free one-way flight to Europe after you’ve accumulated 22.5k flight miles. For some of us, this can happen in a year or two! More on the award chart is here. Other airlines follow pretty much the same system.
A lot of airlines belong to a larger alliance and if you fly on one airline that belongs to a specific alliance, you can accumulate flight miles with any of their airlines. For example, both American Airlines and British Airways belong to Oneworld. if you have an AAdvantage membership with American Airlines, and you fly on a British Airways flight, you are eligible to redeem partial or all miles from that flight to count towards your AAdvantage flight miles. Sometimes, the better flight is with another airline, but that airline may be a partner airline. Other alliances housing your favorite airline companies are: Star Alliance and Sky Team. So, don’t miss out on some major rewards.