This is the 2nd post on how to accumulate and spend miles and points effectively. See previous posts for more info:Step 1: Acquiring Points and Miles – Laying the Foundation Step 2: Acquiring Points and Miles – Setting Up Step 3: Acquiring Points and Miles – Staying Organized Step 4: Acquiring Points and Miles – Accumulating
My last post had a list of questions that would help outline your travel style and goals. Now we will consider how to get setup.
Normally every airline has airports that are considered hub airports. A hub airport means that there is a high concentration of flights from that airline that depart and arrive there. For example, United has hubs in Houston, Texas and Newark, New Jersey. Lufthansa has hubs in Frankfurt and Munich, Germany.
You should ask yourself: which airline do you fly most often and which airlines have a hub in your nearest city? They will most likely be the same answer but there can be exceptions, such as being required to fly certain airlines due to company policies.
The next logical step is to sign up for the loyalty program of that airline. Write down your frequent flyer number, login/username, pin and/or password. Some airlines give bonuses for signing up and then taking a flight with them within a certain amount of time. Also find out which airlines partner with your main airline and if you fly them, give the loyalty number of your main airline. This will get you off to a good start but there are other considerations which we will outline in a separate post: airline alliances, redemptions and fare buckets.
Since another major cost of travel is staying in hotels, you will repeat the same exercise for hotels. Find out which chain of hotels you stay at most often and which hotels are present where you want to go. Sign up with that hotel loyalty program and keep track of the loyalty number, login/username, pin and/or password.
Most major hotel chains are part of a group of hotels. For example, the Intercontinental Hotels Group consists of the following chains: Candlewood Suites, Staybridge Suites, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Holiday Inn Resorts, EVEN Hotels, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza, Hualuxe Hotels and Resorts, and Intercontinental Hotels and Resorts. By signing up with the IHG Rewards club and giving your loyalty number when staying at any of the previous listed chains, the points earned during the stay will fall under the same IHG account. We will discuss hotel alliances more in detail in a separate post.
Hotel Group Choices…
Now that you have your main airline and hotel group chosen, we come to another point: Diversity is key. No airline has complete coverage of the world and no hotel chain is present in every city. When you happen to use an alternative airline that is not a partner of your main airline and a hotel that is not part of the hotel group, you should sign up with their frequent flyer and loyalty programs as well.
In the next post we will discuss how to stay organized when you start signing up with all of these programs.
Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.