Gary’s Tip #4: Sign up for the program.
By now, you’ve read several of my posts of MTM. so you must realize there are a few methods to my madness: loyalty programs being one of them.
Even if you sign up for a loyalty program RIGHT BEFORE you make a reservation at a hotel or fly an airline, do it. You have nothing to lose only points to gain. You might even realize you like the brand and want to frequent them more often. The tip applies from big chains to little boutique brands. Always make sure you’re a member of their loyalty program and give your frequent guest number with the reservation. Save those points! You can track them easily at free sites like AwardWallet.com.
Also, don’t worry about redeeming points as soon as you have enough for a free something. Having points can often get you the best values at some of the most expensive hotels. For the same points that the Grand Hyatt New York would have cost me, I spent New Years at the Park Hyatt Vendome in Paris and then in February at the Park Hyatt in the Maldives (think $900 per night for each). I never would be able to stay at such expensive hotels if I were paying cash, but by collecting my points I can and do all the time.
For other posts in this series and more tips from Gary, click here. If you travel often,follow his blog for regular tips and current deals. The man is an expert at discovering loopholes, online mistakes the airlines and hotels have to honor, and how to manipulate the fine print. You can feel free to tweet him questions @GaryLeff. He’s super sweet so don’t be shy.
(Photo: View from W Resort Koh Samui, where you can use Starwood points. Mary’s review here.)Tweet this!