If you think you’ve mastered the world of maximizing points and miles, think again. Get ready for these great ways to double dip your earnings when you travel.
Starwood has set up the Crossover Rewards program with Delta Air Lines that lets you earn Delta SkyMiles for each dollar you spend at a Starwood property. Plus, you can earn Starwood Preferred Guest points for each dollar you spend with Delta. This program requires that you link your account before earn miles and points for future flights and hotel stays.
Hilton HHonors has been a customer favorite for years because it allows its members to double dip and earn both airline miles and hotel points with each stay. Smart hotel guests know it can be even more valuable to opt for double hotel points (since you get more than you would with airline miles). Most other hotel chains only allow you to earn one or the other, which has always set Hilton HHonors apart.
ThanksAgain is one of the best innovations for the frequent flier. This online business partners with restaurants, shops, and other venues like spas to provide miles to customers based upon how much they spend. There are participating outlets across the U.S., many of which you might already frequent regularly. Begin by linking a credit card to the free online profile you set up. Then, you can search for participating retailers and restaurants in your area. Each doles out a number of miles per dollar spent allowing you to rack in miles with your preferred airline while also piling up points with your credit card program. How can you pass up free miles for things that you would be doing anyway?
Credit card programs
So you have signed up for your credit card’s loyalty program and get points for everyday spending. American Express has Membership Rewards; Chase has Ultimate Rewards; many Citi cards have Thank You points. But, delve deeper into your credit card’s benefits. Some programs offer double, triple, or even five times the points for regular spend at certain places. The Chase Ink Plus business card comes with categories that offer 5x points on regular spend at office supply stores or on cell phone or cable bills.
Let’s look at office supply stores to see how double dipping can really play a role. Stores like Staples and Office Depot have an entire rack of gift cards. Why not use the Chase Ink Plus card to buy gift cards to gas stations, restaurants, or other shops from an office supply store to take advantage of the 5x bonus and then use those gift cards at their related stores instead of your credit card. You have instantly multiplied the bonus on your cards (almost like a quintuple dip!)
Other credit cards offer similar bonuses like Chase Sapphire Preferred and Citi Prestige, which each offer double points on travel and dining. Be sure to charge related expenses to the right cards to maximize your earnings. Chase Freedom goes a step further and offers cash back instead of points at various places (which change quarterly). For example, in the spring, members can earn 5% cash back at grocery stores while during the summer months, the cash back bonus is available at restaurants.
If you make purchases on the Internet and don’t use online airline shopping portals, you are leaving valuable points on the table. Each airline has one of these online shopping malls, which essentially provide links to the same websites you would normally frequent. But, by registering at an online shopping mall and clicking the link within the airline’s portal, you earn miles for each purchase. A great website to visit before signing up for a shopping portal is EvReward, which tells you which airline shopping portal provides the most miles per dollar spent at your preferred store.
Small business programs
Airlines often negotiate special contracts for large corporations that offer significant discounts, fee waivers, or other special services in exchange for a large chunk of spend commitment. But, smaller companies are often not so privileged since their annual spend is significantly less. Enter small business programs.
While these do not typically offer any type of discount on travel or fee waivers, they do allow small businesses to earn points on traveler spend (in addition to earning miles for travel). This type of double dipping allows fliers to rack in their miles while the company earns points that can be redeemed for free travel or lounge passes later.
Many airlines have smartened up and require a minimum of five travelers to be enrolled or even a minimum amount of travel spend per year. Delta requires that $5,000 be spent by at least five travelers (in total) to participate in the program, and a tax identification number is required to sign up.
Delta offers SkyBonus; American has Business Extra; and United offers PerksPlus on the domestic airline front. Overseas airlines are in on the game too: Air France and KLM have BlueBiz; British Airways offers On Business; and Virgin Atlantic offers Flying Co.
The cool thing about these programs is that many offer points for travel on joint venture partners, as well. Delta awards points to tickets issued within the U.S. for travel on Air France and KLM while American does the same for British Airways and Iberia, for example.
To earn the most points and miles as possible, savvy travelers have to look for opportunities to double dip. It can pay off the next time you find yourself sipping champagne in first class thanks to the numerous times you sipped champagne on the ground or in a hotel and earned bonus points for it!