This blog post is part of a series on hotel considerations for business aircraft operators.
As a business aircraft operator, you are probably traveling a lot and, when not in the air, spending a good amount of time in hotels. A perk of all this travel is that the hotel reward points you accumulate along the way usually get applied to your personal, not business, hotel loyalty program (or “rewards”) account(s). Because of this, maximizing hotel points is a point of interest for many business aircraft operators. If you are working through a 3rd-party provider to arrange your hotels – possibly along with other parts of a business-aviation trip, such as flight permits and ground handling – that provider can be a valuable asset in helping you further boost your points-earning power while getting additional benefits and amenities along the way.
Here are some tips to help maximize your points:
1. Sign up for all the major hotel loyalty programs
Before you can start earning hotel points, you have to join a loyalty program. Below are some of the top hotel loyalty programs available in the market. If you are a frequent traveler, you should consider joining them all.
2. Use an application to help you keep track of your points and expiration dates
Keeping track of your hotel points and expiration dates is difficult, especially if you follow our above advice to enroll in multiple loyalty programs. Luckily, there are applications to help you manage this. Here are three popular ones:
- AwardWallet.com – This website is free to join and supports a large number of reward programs. It tracks your points and expiration dates and has both an iPhone and Android app. If you opt for a $10 membership upgrade, they will also mail you an “AwardWalletOnecard” with all your loyalty programs printed on a single plastic card, which is nice for helping thin out the wallet.
- Usingmiles.com – This website is a competitor to AwardWallet.com and offers the same functionality of points and expiration tracking. A nice feature is that it also alerts you about points-boosting bonuses being offered by the different loyalty programs.
- GoMiles.com – This is another alternative to the two websites listed above and offers many of the same features.
- Points.com – In addition to tracking points, this website allows you to buy and sell points, as well as exchange points between your loyalty programs. You can also trade points with other users. Note that some transactions on this website do incur fees.
3. Keep all your hotel loyalty programs on file with your 3rd-party provider
If you arrange hotel services through your 3rd-party provider, you may already be getting benefits, such as discounted room rates, early check-ins/late checkouts and free room upgrades through your 3rd-party provider’s agreements with the major hotel chains. However, it’s important not to overlook making sure your 3rd-party provider has all your hotel loyalty programs on file. By doing this, you ensure that you are earning points on your stays booked through your provider.
4. Watch for points-boosting promos from hotel chains
Hotel chains are always running promotions offering increased points earnings, such as 3X points or a lump-sum points bonus on eligible stays. Hotel chains usually send these to you via e-mail, and the promotions often require that you pre-register online. Even if you don’t know if you have an upcoming trip, it’s best to go ahead and register just in case. If you are working through a 3rd-party provider, ask to speak to their travel department, as this can be a great resource for finding out what promos are currently going on.
5. Focus on 1-2 major hotel chains to achieve elite status and greater points-earning opportunities
In addition to getting enhanced services and upgrades, elite status members almost always have greater points-earning opportunities than non-elites. Focus your stays with 1-2 major hotel chains to reach an elite status level with those loyalty programs. Ask your 3rd-party provider’s travel department which major hotel chains they have relationships with. These are often the best chains to focus on, since you can often get enhanced services and upgrades through your 3rd-party provider whether you have an elite status or not. Also, having an elite status through a rewards program may assist with hotel bookings during sold-out situations, as some of these programs may offer guaranteed availability at a hotel at your destination.
6. Leverage partner programs to earn additional points and points bonuses
Many of the major hotel loyalty programs have partners with whom you can earn additional points per dollar spent. Examples include commercial airlines and rental car companies. The hotels also often run promotional incentives at various times a year offering additional points “bonuses” for trying their partners. Your 3rd-party provider’s travel department can be a good resource to help you identify these partner programs and promotional incentives.
7. Boost earnings by registering your company and personal credit cards with a dining program
If you dine in the U.S. or Canada, register both your personal and business credits cards for one of these dining programs. There is no charge to your cards for using these programs, and you will earn points every time you use your linked credit cards at participating restaurants.
8. Consider dining at your hotel
Of course, an easy way to earn more hotel points is to dine at your hotel. If you are staying at a 4- or 5-star hotel, it’s not uncommon that your hotel restaurant is one of the best places to dine in the city. If you choose a restaurant at a different hotel from the one you’re staying at, you can still provide them your loyalty member number to earn points.
9. Don’t let your points expire
Most loyalty programs will “reset” to zero after 12-18 months of inactivity on the account. Luckily, even the smallest addition of points on your account typically counts as activity. In addition to the options mentioned above, here are some additional points-earning options you can explore to either build up your points balances or keep your accounts active:
- Hotel loyalty program credit cards
- Hotel loyalty program shopping portals
- Conversion of points from other programs, such as credit card or airline programs
- Taking surveys for points, such as e-rewards.com
- Earning points using Topguest.com location check-ins
As discussed in this article, there are many ways to increase your points earnings, and there are many more ways not covered here. By following these tips, you will ensure you will always be earning and never letting points expire. Also, leverage your relationship with your 3rd-party provider. Their travel department can be an excellent resource for helping you increase your points and get preferred services and upgrades on your hotel stay while in the process.
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Category : Best Practice
About Yuka LaTulippe
Yuka LaTulippe is an expert on corporate travel as well as product development for business aviation. Since first joining Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. in 2006, Yuka has served in a variety of positions, including Associate Product Manager for UVTripPlanner, where she ensured timely publication and accuracy of the comprehensive pre-flight reference. She currently serves as Manager, Travel Management, where she develops strategies to identify traveler cost savings for Universal clients. Yuka, who graduated summa cum laude from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, is a member of Women in Corporate Aviation and will be a featured speaker at the National Business Aviation Association 2013 Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference on the topic of vetting third-party suppliers.
Yuka can be reached at email@example.com.
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