The majority of travelers just travel without giving much thought as to what they could potentially accumulate when it comes to frequent flyer programs or similar loyalty programs in the travel industry. Collecting miles, reward points and the such, which eventually lead to a “status” can be useful even for the occasional traveler.
Loyalty programs such as an airline frequent flyer program are connected with various status levels, each of which brings along a variety of additional services you would otherwise not receive. Some of the most well-known programs include that of Lufthansa Airlines and their miles and more program or Delta SkyMiles. Other programs include that of hotel chains such as Hilton or Best Western, or even car rental companies such as Avis and Hertz. Even trains now offer loyalty programs, adapting to the changing times that include services like access to the business lounge at a train station.
This post will give you a run down as to why you might considering attaining a status.
Airlines: What benefits does a frequent flyer status give me?
Every airline company, or group of companies (as often many will share a loyalty program) depending on their affiliate network, will offer a variety of benefits for those holding a certain status within the loyalty program of that airline. These benefits vary by company and program and are dependent on the status you attain. Most loyalty programs have a three-to-four tier status. Now while we do not want to note the best or worst programs in this guide we do want to display what advantages customers have, generally speaking in most of these frequent flyer programs.
- Should you have status with an airline program, you will be able to check-in quicker (typically) at the business or first class counters. If you fly frequently and use the check-in desk with an economy class ticket, you’ll know that long waiting times are the norm. However, in this instance with priority check-in, you can cut down the time to only minutes.
- When flying, (depending on the length of the flight), you may need to purchase luggage to check-in. Status customers will receive this for free, often times including additional luggage or higher weight limits versus everyone else. Hence, with a status, you avoid having to worry about your luggage being overweight and having to pay additional charges.
Priority at security
- Now, this may seem odd, however, there are many airports, especially large international ones that have separate access for security checks. These are specially reserved for status passengers and those with premium flight class tickets (business and first). This again contributes to potential time savings during your travels.
- Nearly all airlines across the globe have exclusive lounges at a variety of airports, and if they don’t then they collaborate with their affiliates to provide that service. However, this is often reserved for only business and first class passengers. The idea is to make the wait at the airport prior to boarding as comfortable as possible. Often it becomes an amazing experience, that includes free drinks and food, showers, pool or sleeping areas, internet, etc. The best thing about this is that if you hold status and just fly economy for the period in which your status is valid, then you still have access to these lounges!
- Airlines that are booked or want to fit in more passengers to ensure the plane is full will often offer upgrades to status guests to the next higher cabin class. In other words, if you purchase an economy ticket, and there are still a lot of business class seats free, chances are you will be upgraded as a status holder so that other paying customers can purchase your economy class seat.
- Status members are among the first to board the plane, regardless of ticket class. This puts you in front of everyone else, meaning you can comfortably get on the plane, find your seat and not worry about overhead luggage space.
Hotels: What benefits do their loyalty programs give me?
As we mentioned earlier, the travel industry has loyalty programs left and right. This includes many hotels. Whether large international chains or small local motels. These programs also have a variety of classes, each with their own benefits should you be a status holder. Contrary to popular belief, attaining such statuses with hotel chains are often much easier to reach than you would expect.
- This is the first benefit you’ll often see across the board. Rather than having to shell out a few extra euros for your booking, as a status holder, you automatically receive breakfast with most hotel chains, regardless of the type of room or accommodations you book.
- Just like with airlines, often status holders with a little extra luck, or frequent guests of a specific hotel chain, will receive a generous upgrade from their booked room. These upgrades often include larger suites depending on availability and location!
- Who wouldn’t love to arrive earlier than the typical afternoon check-in times? Or on the other side of that coin, check out later than the typical morning times? Status holders get to do exactly that without any additional surcharges.
- Say what? Yes, many upscale hotel chains have separate club lounges, in high rises often found on the upper floors. The access to these lounges is limited to guests with a certain room type or status holders. You can expect snacks, drinks including alcoholic beverages and a relaxing atmosphere to get some work done.
There are a variety of loyalty programs out there for all traveler types. Even if you do not travel that often you still may want to consider signing up for certain programs that make sense. Programs you think you’ll use in the long run, knowing that you will fly Lufthansa more than you fly KLM, as an example.
In addition to the most common programs, you will often find that other areas in the travel industry such as your national train line or car rental agencies such as Avis and Europcar and the such also offer memberships with status tiers that include other benefits than just renting a car or having a seat on the train. Make sure you check these out as well.
Why you need a status while traveling is because it will definitely bring you an enjoyable experience along the way, especially a status at a hotel or airline. The benefits of having lounge access or additional luggage will certainly take away some stress and reduce overall expenses for your journey. Hence, think about joining one where it makes sense and gradually build your profile. Often times joining a program is absolutely free, and on top of that, there are often great incentives to even join a specific program.