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Loyalty Programs You Should Consider to Boost Your Balance

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So you’re savvy enough to collect points and miles from airlines and hotels, but did you realize that you might be missing out on other perks by not signing up for some of these lesser known loyalty programs.

Thanks Again

This is a real mileage booster if you play your cards right. Thanks Again works with various airlines to award miles for everyday purchases made at restaurants, retailers, and service providers around town and in the airport. First, visit the affiliated airline’s website to enroll your credit card and frequent flier number to start earning miles for purchases that you already make anyway. There is no fee to sign up, and the service does not use your email for spam messages.

This program is essentially a free way to double dip since you earn airline miles for purchases while still scoring the miles or points that  already come with your credit card program. By visiting the website, you can figure out which companies participate in your zip code or among your regular travel patterns. There’s no catch, and participating retailers gain your attention by enrolling in this program in hopes that you would patronize their outlet over another. Options include everything from local day spas to burger joints in airports and around town.


Similar to Thanks Again, this program awards you bonus frequent flier miles for booking hotels through its website. This program can come in handy when staying at independent properties that may not have major loyalty program. Another great use for RocketMiles is if you are staying at a hotel that is not part of a loyalty program that you usually frequent. Why not earn airline miles for staying there instead of racking up a few points in an orphan account that you might not ever use again (or earn enough points to score a free night). RocketMiles doles out airline miles based on how much you spend. A variety of programs participate, and there are often bonuses for making your first reservation.

Rocket Miles offers thousands of points and miles per stay

Greyhound Road Rewards and Bolt Bus

Snarling TSA lines (and the snarling agents that run them) are deterring some travelers from winging their way across short distances. If you’re one of them or simply find airfare for a last-minute trip is too expensive, consider catching a bus. The Greyhound of today is not your grandma’s Greyhound of decades past. Free wireless Internet and seats with power outlets are more the norm today. Plus, Road Rewards program could lead to a free ride quickly.

Riders earn one point per trip, and even more for pricier, more flexible fares. Rack up six points, and receive a companion pass to use on another trip; eight points earns a free ride. New members receive 10% of their next trip when they sign up. Cities that welcome the Bolt Bus, which offers a free one-way ticket after eight journeys with the company, have yet another option on the highway.

Airport parking

If you do find yourself taking a plane and need to park your car at the airport, consider one of the third-party services that might be cheaper and offer more perks than the airport’s own parking. Jetting off to far-flung destinations is always a treat, but returning to a hefty parking bill is certainly not. Companies like Pre-Flight and The Parking Spot offer frequent-user programs that provide benefits after parking with them a specified number of days.

The Parking Spot offers program that provide benefits

Uber VIP

If you are a frequent Uber user, perhaps as few as 10 Uber rides per month, the company may include you in its Uber VIP program. What’s so uber-special about Uber VIP? It gives you access to the highest rated drivers in the area, as well as occasional discounts, free perks and ongoing sweepstakes. This is not as great as an airline or hotel loyalty program, but everyone likes having VIP status attached to your name. This program is specific to a city, so while you might be a VIP in New York, that doesn’t give you VIP access in Boston. Hey, it’s better than nothing!

Amtrak Rewards

Amtrak Rewards has a connection with other programs, like United, where customers can earn or redeem miles for rail journeys. But, it also has its own reward program, which earns points based upon how much a customer spends on a ticket. Earn enough points and redeem for a free, future train ticket.

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