If we could offer just one bit of advice to any frequent traveler, it would be to accumulate as many miles and achieve as high a status as possible with various frequent traveler programs. Often referred to as elite-level programs, we're referring to the level of membership at which you can earn the most miles, points, and privileges.
Why would we suggest going out of your way to pay for and travel another trip just to qualify for elite-level membership? Review the various elite-level programs offered by your airline or hotel and you'll see why this is an important decision for you. Most provide special upgrades at no cost and tier bonuses that can increase your mileage and point totals automatically by 25-125% each time you travel. For most members, that means that a 25,000-mile free award can be earned with only 12,500 actual flight miles, even with no partner bonuses.
Each December, you should make a point of reviewing your mileage and point totals and decide which benefits you want to have for the next year. Trust us, as a Gold, Premier, Platinum, or other elite-level member, you will be treated differently.
These programs work whether you travel regularly or just occasionally. A little more graciousness and cooperation seem to be extended to the members of travel programs by the personnel at airline ticket counters and clubs, hotel registration and car rental counters. The programs are especially handy when your travel plans have changed and you need an exception to the rules.
How you use your frequent travel credit is up to you. Have no fear of running out of options. In their quest to create satisfied customers and loyal flyers, the airlines will continue to woo your patronage with enticing offers. Indeed, the miles and points you have earned are part of a new global currency involving both airlines as well as hotel programs.