3 Ways to Start Earning Loyalty While You're Still in College

The college student lifestyle is unlike any other - running from class to class Monday through Friday and exploring future career opportunities all while mixing in a healthy amount of fun. Yet while it might be not seem like a priority, enrolling in loyalty and rewards programs now can help you get where you want to go in the years ahead. It’s never too early to start racking up loyalty points and miles.

And to make it easier, I’ve outlined a couple scenarios you’ve likely encountered and how you can easily integrate loyalty into your daily routine to help save you time and money tomorrow.

Getting your essential daily dose

Get more out of your morning cup of coffee than just caffeine. From mobile apps to punch cards, coffee chains and local shops around the world are known for rewarding their loyal members. Starbucks, in particular, is known for its iconic loyalty program. The recently renovated Starbucks Rewards platform allows coffee drinkers to rack up 2 stars per dollar spent and receive a complimentary item after collecting 300 stars. What makes Starbucks especially unique is that its stars can be transferred and exchanged with other loyalty currencies. Via Points.com, Rewards Members can track their stars, exchange them for miles and other points, and even gift or transfer them to a friend.

A lot of people want to hear what you have to say!

Got an opinion? Get rewarded for it! Air travelers can accrue miles in exchange for sharing their experiences, conveying opinions and completing surveys. MileagePlus, Flying Blue and Rapid Rewards customers, for example, can participate via United’s Opinion Miles Club, Air France-KLM Opinion Rewards Club and Southwest’s Valued Opinions.

Miles are awarded per survey completed, and every mile earned goes directly into your account. Completing surveys on a regular basis keeps your loyalty accounts fresh and your award miles from expiring.

Answering questions is not the only way to effortlessly rack up points and miles. Sending flowers for your friend’s birthday or donating to Susan G. Komen for the Cure and other charitable organizations can help you make someone’s day and bulk up your reward balance.

Planes, trains and automobiles

Planning a semester abroad, a spring break trip or even a weekend getaway out-of-state is wrought with loyalty earning potential. For you world travelers out there, StudentUniverse - a leading travel booking service for student travelers - is a great resource. Through partnerships with transportation and hospitality companies around the world, they empower students to travel more easily without forking over the extra cash. In particular, they’ve teamed up with American Airlines and United Airlines to offer discounted rates and extra amenities like WiFi, free baggage and power outlets. Moreover American AAdvantage and United MileagePlus reward memberships are free to open, and you can begin earning right away.

All that airtime during long trans-Atlantic or cross country flights is an opportunity for you to start building loyalty.

But you don’t have to be in the air to earn loyalty miles. For you roadtrippers, look into gas station reward programs. Speedway Rewards, for example, allows customers to earn points on each visit, redeem them in-store or on future purchases and even play games to win additional rewards. If you’ve got that roadtripping wanderlust but are in need of a vehicle, rental car agencies have you covered. They offer reward programs, like Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, to accrue loyalty as you cruise in their vehicles. And if driving just isn’t your thing, all you’ve got to do is hop aboard a train. Amtrak and other train operators offer loyalty programs to their travelers.

The key to travel loyalty (and actually, all loyalty for that matter) is earning high-value rewards.

The points and miles highlighted above, just like Starbucks stars, are exchangeable and transferable across industries. That way, you never get stuck with heaps of worthless points. They can all work together to get you where you need to go.