Travel rewards are the programs used by airlines, credit cards, and some hotels to cultivate a sense of loyalty among their customers.
Customers can earn points or miles that are redeemable for free flights, upgrades, hotel stays, car rentals, or shopping sprees.
Some popular travel rewards programs include those offered by credit cards such as American Express, Capital One, and Chase bank.
Some are offered by airlines, such as Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus, and those offered by hotel chains, such as Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors.
It’s a good idea to compare the features and benefits of several programs before making a decision on what program you want to join.
There are many travel rewards programs available, however, finding the best one for you will depend on your specific travel needs and preferences. Below are some 5 things to consider when choosing a travel rewards program:
Travel rewards earnings potential
You should consider the earning potential, how much you will be able to earn in the program, and how long it will take because most of the time is based on your travel and spending habits.
For instance, if you want to earn rewards through credit cards, you want to know what is the better credit card, how much you will need to spend, and if it’s worth it.
For most credit cards the more you spend the more rewards you get. Some programs offer higher earning potential on certain types of purchases, such as airfare, car rentals, or hotel stays.
However, some rewards programs offer rewards for other purchases. than airfare or hotel stays. For instance, Delta Skymiles do offer rewards when you make purchases at Starbucks and Lyft.
Travel rewards program redemption options
Look at how you can redeem the points or miles you earn. Can you use them to book travel with any airline or hotel, or are you limited to certain partners?
Can you use them for other types of redemptions, such as cashback or merchandise? Do the points or miles you earn expire? meaning do you have a deadline to use them?
Knowing all these questions will make you determine if you are choosing the right program.
Is there an Elite status in the travel reward program?
Some programs offer elite status tiers that provide additional benefits, such as free checked bags, priority boarding, and room upgrades. Programs such as Delta Skymiles provide elite-status silver, diamond, and platinum medallion.
The elite Medallion status provides benefits such as flight benefits, fee waivers, access to Delta lounges, and many more. Consider whether achieving elite status is a priority for you and whether the program you are considering offers a feasible path to achieving it.
Are there partner benefits associated with the reward program?
When we join these programs most of us are in for the benefits. With that being, having those programs that have partnerships will be a way to go.
Many travel rewards programs have partnerships with other companies, such as car rental agencies or credit card issuers. Consider whether these partnerships provide any additional benefits that could be useful to you.
For instance, again Delta Skymiles this program has partnerships with different companies such as Starbucks, Instacart, Lyft, and also American Express credit cards.
So if Delta Skymiles rewards programs you can earn some benefits when you use their partner companies.
What are the annual fees associated with the reward program?
Some travel rewards programs charge an annual fee for membership. Make sure to consider this fee when deciding which program is right for you. The reward you need to check for annual fees is credit card annual fees.
Credit cards such as Chase Sapphire and Capital One Venture has an annual fee of $95-99, however, some other credit cards their annual fee are higher than $200, some of them are Capital One Venture X has an annual fee of $395 and American Express Platinum card has an annual fee of $695, and Chase Sapphire Reserve has an annual fee of $550.