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Travel Loyalty Programs by Travel Type

Here at The Bargain Radar, we are always looking for a way to save you money. We are always trying to pass on experience and advice about ways you can save money on everyday items and future travel plans which you would be undertaking anyway. With some knowledge and the ability to plan, you can save some serious money in the future.

Below, we break down the main ways you travel for a vacation or business/leisure trip. Simply by spending a few minutes setting up accounts with your airline, rental car, hotels or train ride, you can build up points, rewards, and discounts that can really benefit you either immediately or on your next flight, hotel visit or vacation.

Airlines

In the US News & World Report rankings for the best 2019-2020 airline rewards program, Alaska Airlines was ranked as the No 1, with Delta’s SkyMiles program second and JetBlue’s TrueBlue listed are third best. Also included in their rankings were United’s MileagePlus and American Airlines’ AAdvantage. The ranking was based on an analysis of expert and user opinions and covered factors such as how easy it was to earn free flights, additional benefits like free checked bags, check-in and boarding priority, network coverage and flight availability and overall Airline quality scores from users.

Hotels

In the same report, the Marriott Bonvoy program led the way, followed closely by Wyndham Rewards and World of Hyatt. Marriott Bonvoy scored the No. 1 spot thanks to the fact it has over 7,000 participating hotels globally, the high level of partners included on the plan across flight, rental car, cruise and vacation packages, as well as the fact that there were absolutely no blackout dates allocated when redeeming free nights.

Trains

There are limited national options for trains – Amtrak dominates! Their program covers all bookings at 2 points per $1 spent, with certain multipliers based on booking business or first-class tickets. Once you have opened up your account, you can then also earn points with a large array of travel partners, including Wyndham Resorts, Budget, Hertz and Enterprise rental cars, United if you take Amtrak to Newark and some other airports, plus retail partners via the Amtrak shopping portal, including Target, Walmart and Home Depot. 

Car rental

Here there are multiple options for each of the main rental car brands! Alamo Insiders, Hertz Gold Plus, National Emerald Club, Avis Preferred. Dollar Express, Budget, and Enterprise all join in the fun!  They range in their complexity – for example, Alamo Insiders is a straight discount with few frills, but most of the others will allow you to earn a free rental based on their individual points and rewards system – either per rental day or by dollar amount spent.

Online Travel Agencies

For a lot of people, simplicity and a one-stop-shop for all their travel plans is very popular – saving time and storing your itinerary in one place! TBR’s favorite, for its rewards and simplicity, is Hotels.com. With one night free per 10 nights booked, it’s basically a 10% reward, which is ahead of anyone we can find!

In general, the online travel agencies are fantastic tools to use to book a vacation. The other main players are Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity. Each of them has great feature and are easy to use.

Travel-related credit cards

To help maximize your points earning potential for any of the big travel brands above, many of them will have branded credit cards, or have set up partnerships with one of the major credit card suppliers. Most major airlines have a partnership with credit card companies, allowing you to earn loyalty points for booking travel as well as on your everyday purchases on and offline. Some, but far less, hotel chains and online travel agencies will have these relationships. Also, a lot of credit card companies will have selected lines of cards that are great for different niches of travel-related costs. Some for perks, some for small businesses, dining hotels and airlines. If you can apply for credit cards with no overall detriment to your financial situation, you could end up saving a huge amount of travel perks and free rentals, flights and hotel nights.

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