A great travel rewards program is a must for the frequent jet-setter, but even those who only travel once or twice a year can benefit. These programs reward travelers for their loyalty and can score you everything from upgraded hotel rooms to totally free flights.
Here are some of the best we’ve found:
1. For Global Travelers: The Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard
The Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard offers cardholders the ability to use rewards as statement credit on any travel-related purchases: airline tickets, rental cars and even hotel rooms. The $89 fee is waived for the first year and is pretty easy to make up for after that, with a 2 miles rewarded for each dollar spent, as well as 10% of your miles returned to you when you redeem for travel purchases. A 40,000-mile sign-up bonus applies when you spend $1,000 in the first 90 days. That 40k bonus is enough to save you up to $400 off your first trip!
2. For Domestic Fliers: Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
U.S. News & World Report ranks Southwest’s airline rewards program No. 1. With Rapid Rewards, every dollar spent earns you rewards with points that never expire and carry no blackout dates. Points also can be earned with the airline’s hotel and rental car partners, as well as bought if you want to top off a travel redemption. The one downside: Southwest only offers flights within the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean, so this card best befits people who enjoy the States and occasionally want to hit the beach bars.
3. For Hotels: Hyatt Gold Passport
The Hyatt Gold Passport program offers loyal customers the opportunity to earn free nights and discounted room rates simply by returning to Hyatt. You can earn a night in a Hyatt hotel room for as low as 5,000 points a night, and a suite for as little as 8,000. Points also can be redeemed for stays at Hyatt’s all-inclusive resorts, as well as its Vacation Club resorts. Members also can use their points in different ways – for instance, you can use points to simply upgrade from a regular room to a suite, or you can buy spa services and dining experiences.
4. For Parking: AirportParkingReservations.com
Long-term parking at the airport is expensive. AirportParkingReservations.com aims to save you money by partnering with local hotels to allow parking on their lot for the duration of your trip. AirportParkingReservations.com’s rewards program is free to join and comes with a 25-point sign-up bonus. You can also earn points by writing reviews and making reservations. Meanwhile, just 150 points gets you $5 in free parking – enough for an entire night at some properties. It’s just that simple.
Whether you travel often or hardly at all, travel rewards programs are worth the paperwork. Start earning points today and watch how fast they add up!