I have always limited my loyalty program participation to a narrow range of companies. As I continue to research our upcoming trip it makes sense to expand the list of programs that the family is affiliated with. With still over 2 years of time until we travel, some might end up justifying the sign up effort now. When we eventually take off, I can not wait to see what cost offsets these loyalty programs will have helped deliver.
Today, I consistently participate in two loyalty/reward type programs. The first is my Visa card which gets me travel points for all purchases. My family and I put every purchase we can on our Visa card. The second is my aeroplan card which I have used for two decades but have not been using as much recently. We are waiting to see what the upcoming roll-out of the revamped program looks like. Depending on the overall look, we might end up switching our Visa to better take advantage of this program in earnest. I realize aeroplan and visa will be the core of our reward programs going forward but there is still room to expand. I will share a list of all the programs I have signed up for recently or those that I have revisited in earnest.
- Rakuten – Rakuten is an online referral shopping site I use before I make a purchase on a retail site. I consistently get 1% back minimum. During the holidays, this can be anywhere from 2% to 10% depending on the product category.
- Enterprise – I had to rent a car recently for work and realized I was not a member of any car rental company. I have an Enterprise at the end of my street and apparently the points do not expire for a 3 year period. I think it makes sense to be a member of a car rental company if you are a traveler.
- Mariott Bonvoy – This one also was an eye opener. I had no idea the number of banners the program covered. This is definitely something I had missed out on over the years.
- ALL Accor – Are all hotel chains owned by large parent corporations now? Like Marriott Bonvoy, I now can get points when I stay at another large swath of hotel banners.
- Air BnB – My wife has the family account under her name but she referred me and now I have my own. It will help me when I refer my friends as I do not need to use my wife’s email anymore.
- Asia Miles – I had an old account from a trip 15 years ago to Asia. I got it back after some profile updates.
- Mastercard – We currently have a generic cash back amex card but are now going to switch it in for a mastercard that will work at Costco as well.
I still have much more work to do on this front and hopefully some of the effort will translate into future freebies to help offset the trip costs. If nothing else, it is fun to be on their email distributions again to get visibility to some of the offers that are currently in market.
A final learning on my side is that it is important to physically write down your login information, account number and password somewhere in your house. There is not much benefit in having a loyalty program if you can not access it readily.
Starbucks loyalty program is another useful one given their global footprint. Taking refuge from the rain with a warm hot chocolate vs having to return to the hotel makes a gloomy day much more enjoyable. Especially when the beverage is free.