martedì 29 gennaio 2013

Rewards and coupons drive me crazy!

Since my childhood I had a passion for any kind of points collection: the ones in the supermarket, at the gas station ... and due to that my dad nicknamed me Signorina Bollini.



Obviously this growing passion has grown with me and I started to participate more and more to lotteries and competitions.
Family or friends often ask me: "Why do you participate in? You never win anything!" and my answer always is "If you don't participate you don't win! I try!"
And I must say that more than once I have been rewarded.
Apart from the collections in which the prize is guaranteed when you reach the number of points, I also participated in several competitions with success.
Among all, I very well remember  a competition organized by Puglia region, which had as its prize a week in a beautiful resort in Calabria.
Well, even though I ended up as third in the final, I won the prize!
Do you know why? The first two in ranking participated in an unfair way and therefore were eliminated from the competition!

When I started traveling, the passion didn't abandon me, but I have been able to capture even more opportunities.
In which way? Well, loyalty cards with airlines and hotels.
It's well known that each airline participates in a reward program: every time you check-in just give your loyalty card to the employee and according to air miles travelled with your flight a certain number of points are credited on your card.
Most of the airlines are grouped in alliances, therefore it's even easier and faster to increase the number of miles on your card.

What to do then with the earned miles ?
First of all, you can book flights for free (or almost).
Usually with the points of the loyalty cards you can buy flights, paying only the airport taxes.
Taxes, however, are often higher than the  flight price, so be careful when you book.
Sometimes it's more convenient to buy a low cost flight at full price!




Some airlines (eg Lufthansa) allow you to use miles to pay the airport tax as well.
Then if you have enough points, it is better to use miles for both the flight and the taxes: in this way you really get a free flight!
The possibility to use points are not limited to flights only.
You can book a room in a hotel that is part of the reward alliance, you can book prizes from catalogues  or you can donate miles to voluntary associations.

Pretty often the most famous hotel groups collaborate with airlines and let you earn points with overnight stays.
Pay attention then! Every time you check in at the hotel take a look at the counter because information about points collection is usually shown there.
If you don't see anything, ask the clerk if they have any agreements with the airlines.

Some hotels or hotel groups don't have agreements with airlines, but have their own reward program and their loyalty cards.
And for sure, these cards are a must in the wallet of a good traveler :-)
Usually collected points entitle you to hotel free nights, or discount coupons for restaurants inside the hotel or other related facilities (eg, health clubs, gyms).
As cardholders  of a fidelity card you often deserve special treatment on arrival and departure with a fast track, you can get the room upgraded for free whenever possible, and you can get discount coupon for bar, restaurant, parking and other amenities.

So now, what does it cost to sign for a loyalty card? 
Absolutely NOTHING! It's free and can give you a lot of advantages.
What are you waiting for ? 
Main airlines and hotel even allow you to sign in online and deliver the card after the first time you use it.

Here below you can find some of the airlines and hotel group website where you can subscribe online:

AIRLINES

Lufthansa per for StarAlliance Group
Airfrance-KLM for FlyingBlue Group
Emirates for SkyWards Group

HOTEL

LeClubAccor for Accor Hotels Group 
ChoicePrivilege for Choice Hotels Group 
PriorityClubRewards for InterContinental Hotels Group

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