2 rewards programs to consider for frequent travelers.

2 Rewards Programs to Enroll in for Frequent Travelers

  • Travel Team
May 15, 2013


One of the ways frequent travelers save money is by taking advantage of rewards programs offered by airlines, hotels and other players in the hospitality industry. Accumulating points or frequent flier miles can be a great way to defray the cost of exploring the world, but there are so many programs to choose from that it can be difficult to determine which ones are with investing the effort.

The Freddie Awards were created in the late 1980s to recognize travel programs that go above and beyond to help globetrotters make their way around the world in a comfortable and affordable manner. It uses votes from fliers and hotel guests to determine winners, so you can be sure the brands recognized do their best for travelers. "This is not an elitist view of these programs but rather the 'best' are determined by the votes of those who spend a great deal of their life on the road," Randy Petersen, the Freddie Awards founder, told USA Today.

American Airlines frequent flier program

When it comes to frequent flier programs, American Airlines takes the cake. The domestic carrier took home three of the Freddie's top awards, cementing its place as a customer-friendly airline. "American is honored to win the Freddie Awards for Airline Program of the Year, Best Elite Program and Best Airline Promotion two years in a row," said Suzanne Rubin, president of the AAdvantage Loyalty Program. "These awards inspire the airline and those of us on the AAdvantage team to continue working hard to deliver a best-in-class award program for all of our loyal customers around the world."

Although the benefits for travelers who fly American are good, the airline has still experienced its share of problems in the past several years. After filing for bankruptcy in late 2011 and beginning a merger with U.S. Airways in 2012, however, the carrier looks to get back on track. There still may be some growing pains as the two airlines combine their forces and revamp systems, so travelers should buy trip cancellation insurance policies to protect themselves from losing money in the event of delayed flights.

Marriott Rewards wins hotel accolades

Of course, you'll need a place to stay once you touch down in your destination. If you want to use reward programs to find accommodations, then the Marriott chain may be worth a look. In 2013, Marriott collected more Freddie awards than any other hotel brand and won "Program of the Year" for the sixth straight year. Marriott has been running its customer loyalty program for more than 30 years, and guests can redeem rewards at locations around the globe. Free nights at hotels, special amenities or lower daily rates are all common for travelers, and similar perks can be found at Accor or Hyatt hotels, which were also recognized at the awards ceremony.

Pay attention to [other] programs

Brian Kelly, a travel blogger and reward points connoisseur, told Daily Finance that up 73 percent of people have access to frequent traveler programs or credit card rewards and miles but don't know about them. "The way people need to think about miles and points, especially the credit card points, is you're getting a percentage back of what you spend," he told the news source. "So when you're not maximizing that spend, you're losing money." 

You can start taking advantage of these services by checking to see if your credit cards or past travel experiences qualify you for special programs. Some airlines and hotel chains also let people sign up for free, so don't be afraid to register and start collecting points in anticipation of a big trip.

What rewards program would you recommend?

Have a favorite frequent travelers reward program people should know about? Comment below to share you secret!


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