In exchange for your loyalty and information, airlines and hotels will give you a cash-back value in the form of miles or points. They enable travelers to redeem reward flights or free hotel stays.
So why not take them? Why leave money on the table?
I know it may sound complicated in some respect, but think of it as a game with rules. Once you figure them out you can start to play, avoid the traps and attain your objective in terms of free travel redemptions.
So here are 3 great reasons you should accrue miles and points.
Reason 1: It’s free
It doesn’t cost you anything to sign-up for airline and hotel loyalty programs. Your information is as secure as with your credit card or any other service (cell phone, hydro). So sign-up with the airline and hotel brands that give you the most value in terms of network and price. Stick to them and make sure you take advantage of the accrual bonus offers.
Here is a list of 4 loyalty programs that have a lot of value to Canadian travelers.
It’s Canada’s biggest frequent flyer reward program. Canadians know it as Air Canada’s loyalty program. Although Air Canada will end its relationship with Aeroplan in 2020, you still have time to accrue miles and use them on some great reward flights. Like any program, it has its strengths and weaknesses. I shared some of the great ways to burn Aeroplan miles in the following posts: Istanbul reward flights with Aeroplan for $73.45, 5 great Aeroplan reward flight ideas | Part 1, 5 great Aeroplan reward flight ideas – Part 2, Montreal-Bangkok reward flight for $65 with Aeroplan.
British Airways Executive Club
The British rewards program is bigger in Canada then we think. British Airways flies daily to Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Also travelers in other Canadian cities (ie, Quebec City, Winnipeg, Regina) can fly British Airways thanks to its codeshare agreements with Air Canada and Westjet. The airline is part of the oneworld alliance. It offers some great reward flight opportunities particularly on the Europe, Middle-East and Asia flights network. Qatar Airways is a British Airways partner, you can book a Doha-Zurich Business Class reward flight for example.
The Hilton Honors reward program is one of the most generous hotel program in the business. With 14 brands across 5 segments, you can book a hotel across more than 100 countries and get rewarded for your loyalty.
Hilton Honors run bonus promotions all-year long and gives its members a chance to get closer to free stays and great elite status perks and VIP treatment.
Marriott Rewards loyalty program matches the size of its main competitor Hilton. With as many properties across 5 segments, travelers can accrue points and redeem them on free stays across the world. Although I feel it’s less of a generous program, the best value for reward stays will be in Asia, particularly Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.
Reason 2: Travel doesn’t come cheap
I don’t know about you but travel is still expensive. Even though airfares are at their lowest historically, you still need to fork out at least $2,000 to cross the pond and pay for stays. This is only the bare minimum: you have not eaten yet or paid for activities and entertainment. That’s on top of a weak loonie which is a major hurt on most Western destinations for us Canadians.
If you don’t have enough points and miles, you can choose to got for either free flights or free hotel stays.
Free hotel stays are easier to attain as they rarely apply taxes or fees. There are exceptions in cities like Rome, Dubai or Kuala Lumpur who apply a National Tourism tax or fee. But it’s peanuts compared to the savings you’ll generate.
So take the miles and points, they will come handy one day and save you in some cases $2,500 depending on what your travel taste. I cannot afford a $600/night hotel but I managed to stay at the Luxury Resort Naka Phuket.
Reason 3: Credit cards will boost your points balance
Did you know that airlines make more money selling miles to banks then selling seats?
In Canada today you can find some excellent credit card bonus offers that will boost your miles or points balance. From there you can double-dip and accrue more via your monthly habitual spending (gas, bills, grocery).
But be careful don’t grow your organic spending for the sake of getting more points. Always pay your entire monthly balance.
How to start
So now you know what to do. As a Canadian traveler you can act on it: you can lower significantly your travel expenses while you chase those perks and VIP treatment that loyalty programs provide.
If you need help to start and plan your miles and points earnings, I can help you. You can reach out on the Amin On Miles Club Facebook group, DM me on Instagram @aminonmiles or email me on the Contact online form.
As a bonus I’ll send you a mini-guide on the entire process to help plan appropriately.