By Chris Boyd, Head of Consumer Product Management at Points
While there are few things more enjoyable than traveling around the world, the cost adds up. So for us frequent travelers, travel rewards are key. By helping you rack up points as you visit new destinations, a travel rewards program enables you to earn and redeem a few more days of adventure free of charge.
But all rewards programs are not created equal. Here’s a list of the top 10 perqs you should look for in a travel rewards program:
No blackout dates
Using the points you’ve gained from previous trips isn’t always as straightforward as it may seem. Blackout dates can often leave travelers in the dark as they plan their next excursion. Take vacations when you want by choosing a travel rewards program that doesn’t prevent you from traveling during peak times of the year.
Gather as many points as your credit card will allow by joining a rewards program that doesn’t cap the number of points you can earn. This way you won’t feel as guilty next time you book a flight.
Buying, gifting or sharing miles
Join a program that gives you the option to reach rewards faster by by buying, gifting or sharing your points and miles. This way, you won’t have to wait months to earn enough points to redeem for your next big adventure.
Access to top-tier membership
Between the limited amount of time you have off and a tight budget, figuring out how to squeeze in a vacation can be challenging. Find a program that will give you the opportunity to enjoy the best benefits sooner rather than later.
Partnerships with other retailers
Don’t let you travel plans be cut short because you don’t have a way of getting to your dream destination. Visit every corner of the globe by joining a program that provides you with a wide range of airlines and hotels to choose from.
Be aware of expiration dates on your points and familiarize yourself with the program terms and conditions. If your account is inactive, you may be in danger of losing your hard-earned points and miles. Check out programs like Points Loyalty Wallet, which allows you to access and manage all of your favorite loyalty programs in one spot, move points between programs, and reward yourself with gift cards to your favorite brands.
There is more to a loyalty program participation than just currency earning and burning. Pick out a travel rewards program that offers meaningful recognition for your loyalty in addition to just points, such as weekend discounts, upgrades, priority boarding, lounge access or late checkout.
If you suddenly find out a trip you planned months ago no longer works for you, it might be important to consider whether or not your travel rewards program accommodates cancellations. Search for one that is open to last-minute changes so you don’t lose valuable points.
Guaranteed hotel availability
Even if a travel rewards program doesn’t have blackout dates, increased demand surrounding popular events can effectively eliminate any opportunity you have to book a vacation at that time. Top programs will set aside a few rooms for guests eager to use their loyalty points.
Absence of restrictions
Believe it or not, some programs don’t allow customers to receive hotel points and airline miles for the same stay. Choose a program that doesn’t restrict you to when you earn, what you are and how you earn, to maximize across all your rewards programs.
Chris Boyd is the co-Founder of PointsHound and oversees the product development and marketing analytics for Points consumer products.