Sunday, February 25, 2007

do we really take advantage of our loyalty programs?

While flying today I chatted with a fellow who has a 95% travel sales job. He sells industrial components over a 10 state area. Is always on the road. Very nice person.

Having travelled so much, I asked him what he did with his loyalty program incentives - he told me he bought things: nav systems, grills, etc.... Actually, he almost never used the money for travel. Odd, I thought. I never use my points at all, but would like to use them for something more than things.

My goal is to use the points for international travel and hotel stays. Domestic travel really isn't that expensive compare to the cost of hotels. They seem to be the one immovable obstacle to inexpensive travel; i.e. $250 tickets and $150 per night hotel for four nights - big difference. I need to research how to use points for hotels better.

My thinking is simple. Airline miles and credit card miles for international tickets to Europe 50k and 60k points. Hotel and other points for hotel stays - the goal being to find the closest quality to a nice $150/night hotel room and use points to pay for it.

I have enough points for the international tickets - all except one, but I hope I have time to earn more. As to hotels, I'm utterly confused. Recently, I've been accumulating Starwood (SPG), Hilton and now Holiday Inn. We'll see how they all work out - any advice?

One thing for sure is that I'm not accumulating points efficiently. My work Amex isn't in the points program. I've been forced to fly different airlines - so that's not an issue of efficiency. I could switch points oriented credit cards - especially after the recent changes for international redemption. I'll have to be more careful and proactive.

Regards, makingourway

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