Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.
Even before I ran Delta Points blog I
badgered talked to just about everyone I ran into about points. Not just Skymiles but all kinds of points. Sure huge new credit card bonus deals are the “meat & potatoes” of this game, but if you are limiting yourself to just these you are missing out on so much. Again, I am not talking retention points or other ways of earning points here; I am talking about programs.
For rookies, I am always literally shocked and stunned when I find them saying something like this:
“Yeah I had to fly United for work on this trip, but I just about never fly United so I don’t have a frequent flyer account with them.”
WHAT? Are you kidding me? Seriously? And you call yourself a travel
hacker enthusiast? If you have ever said anything like this it is time to step up your game! Here is what I mean.
I love my Award Wallet service even with the limitations that many airlines are putting on them and give them huge credit for the word-a-rounds to still get updates to keep me current. The really kool feature of their site is they track just about every program on the planet; if they don’t have a program listed, most times an e-mail will fix that and “bing” the one you want is now there. These guys are serious about you being able to track ALL points.
That is my point of today’s post. To me, obviously, you never stay at a hotel, get on a plane, rent a car without 1st joining their free loyalty points program. But what about other smaller ones? Is it “too much hassle” to join and use them? Why (are you just lazy)? Let me give you one small example. I love to golf in Michigan. Boyne has a points program. I only golf northern Michigan once a year. Now and then I may ski at the same resort. So, points don’t add up fast. Sure I am earning some points by paying for my golf & ski on a points card but why leave extra points on the table that are there for free? After about 5 years I did collect enough for 4 rounds of afternoon golf with a cart for me and my pals. Value? All-in about $140.
I hope you are seeing the BIG picture here. The above example is not of great monetary value, but if you multiply that over say 10 or 20 or 50 or 100 small programs the rewards can get HUGE. Officemax, Staples, Kroger, Martins, Ebates, Sears, TopCashBack, BestBuy and on and on. There are many small local ones you can, as in the photo of may cards, just carefully find a spot to punch a hole in the card and put them all on a key ring and toss them in your glove box (TIP: careful not to punch a hole in the bar-code). I do the same thing btw with all my hotel and frequent flyer cards so I can toss the bunch of them into my carry-on when I fly.
Is this extra effort worth it? Ask yourself that next time you are a few points short of your next award or wishing you has spent just a little less on that latest trip/vacation – I bet you could have saved yourself that extra little bit with a little more work! – René
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