We’ve all heard the phrase - don’t put all your eggs in one basket - and this principle directly applies to how you should manage your travel loyalty programs. Spreading the loyalty love, or participating in multiple loyalty programs at one time, is a smart strategy to efficiently earn travel points and miles.
How many loyalty programs is too many? Well, the answer is quite simple - you really can’t have too many.
While keeping track of multiple loyalty programs may seem like a daunting task, it’s worth the time spent to earn as many points as you can across a variety of programs. If you’re going to be spending money on a hotel or airline, there’s no reason not to join their loyalty program and earn the corresponding points that come with your patronage. And while we traditionally think of a free flight or hotel stay as the end-goal of our experience with loyalty programs, there’s plenty of opportunities to use lower levels of accumulated points and miles to keep your wallet full and travel experience smoother.
The Sky Is No Longer the Limit
Just like reward credit cards, almost every airline and hotel chain has a corresponding loyalty program, offering points or miles in return for your patronage. Each rewards program has its own unique perks and idiosyncrasies - but almost every program offers ways outside of the traditional free flight or upgraded hotel room to spend your points.
For example, many loyalty programs let you redeem your points to enhance your travel experience - whether you’re looking for a hotel to spend the night, a rental car or other activities to supplement your trips such as a golf outing or spa package.
Additionally, many loyalty programs also allow you to spend points on items completely unrelated to travel.
Have you had your eye on a GoPro or Michael Kors watch? Consider using your loyalty program to purchase these items. Frontier Airlines’ EarlyReturns members can redeem their miles for a full year magazine subscription to some of the top magazines. Southwest’s Rapid Rewards Credit Card members can use their points on a range of items that include everything from fitness equipment and fashion items to electronics and gift cards. And with American Airlines, 2,500 miles can buy you LifeLock identity theft protection for 6 months to ensure your personal information is constantly monitored at home and abroad.
Transfer Into Other Programs
Another benefit to earning points and miles in multiple programs is that often times you’re able to combine your earnings into a single program or exchange them for points with another loyalty program. For example, Southwest Airlines lets members convert hotel points earned from Marriott Rewards, Hyatt Gold Passport, Choice Privileges programs and more into Southwest Rapid Rewards.
Cash It In
Another way to use those miles and points earned across loyalty programs is to convert them into cold hard cash. The Points Loyalty Wallet lets you trade in points and miles in exchange for gift cards at the top retailers and services such as Cash for My Miles and Earn Rewards Cash can also help you sell your miles.
Organization is Everything
Now you know the benefits of earning in multiple loyalty programs at once and all the things you can do with these rewards, but it’s crucial that you keep track of all your points and not let them expire before you’ve had a chance to convert or use them. Just as every loyalty program is unique, so are the expiration policies on miles and points across programs. And then, consider using platforms like the Points Loyalty Wallet, AwardWallet or Tripit, to manage all of your loyalty points within a single platform and give yourself an overview of how many points you’ve accumulated across programs.