The best rewards programs for
One of the best ways to reward yourself is to travel, whether nationally or internationally, fly somewhere that seems very different from where you spend all your time, and stay in a hotel that offers the comforts of home.
For some, that also means getting on a boat and setting sail.
whatWhy not double the reward by joining a rewards program that gives you perks, free flights, free stays, etcétera.? Keep reading our guide for the best travel rewards programs you perro join.
Best frequent flyer program
Earning miles has been around for decades, but now you cánido earn even more now that so many airlines offer an à la carte service.
In addition to earning miles that cánido accrue on free travel, you perro also get free checked bags, priority boarding, and more.
By examining the best frequent flyer programs, we found the best of the best for rewards.
It’s at the top of everyone’s list.
But since locations are more limited than some, we’re also highlighting a runner-up that features fewer rewards but more destinations.
You may benefit from joining both.
Alaska Airlines – Mileage Plan
The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is widely viewed as the best frequent flyer program because miles are easy to earn, miles are a good value when redeemed, a brand name credit card is offered, and miles cánido be earned on your airlines too associates.
NerdWallet placed a value on reward miles with a complicated elabora to determine a “penny per mile.” It rated Alaska Airlines at 0.9 cents per mile.
Rewards start once you reach Elite status.
20,000 is required to achieve MVP status, 40,000 for MVP Gold, and 75,000 for MVP 75K.
Slightly more miles are needed to reach these levels if you fly with one of Alaska Airlines’ partners.
Other rewards, depending on the level of MVP status you’ve achieved, include priority check-in and boarding, dedicated phone lines and express security lines, four complimentary lounge passes, and waived ticket change fees within 60 days of the exit.
You perro also nominate someone for MVP status.
There are free upgrades to plus legroom, first and premium class seats, complimentary beverages, and a free checked bag for you and your companion.
One major downside to the Mileage Plan is that it’s limited to a list of more than 800 destinations worldwide, and it’s based primarily in the western United States.
It doesn’t sound too limiting, but it’s still less than other major airlines.
One small con is that there is no free access to the lounge, but you do get discounted access.
Miles are earned when flying Alaska Airlines or its partners, shopping, dining out, car rentals and hotel stays.
United Airlines — MileagePlus
While Alaska Airlines makes sense if you frequently fly to or from the West Coast of the United States, United Airlines makes sense if you fly through Chicago, where it is headquartered, as well as to hubs in Houston, Newark, Denver, San Francis, Wash.
Dulles, Los Angeles and Guam.
There are more levels to the MileagePlus Program.
These include Basic, Premier Silver, Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, and Premier 1K.
Earn more miles per dollar spent the higher your level.
Depending on your tier, bonuses include miles, seat upgrades, priority check-in, checked baggage, and better seats.
Free access to the lounge comes with the upper levels.
Miles are only a tenth of a cent less than Alaska Airlines, that’s how close it is.
And much of the program works the same as the other program too.
Miles are earned on United or a partner airline, but they’re based on how much money you spend, not how far you fly.
Additional miles perro be earned through shopping, hotels, restoranes, shopping and banking.
They are also earned using a credit card through United.
While there is an annual fee for the card, if you fly multiple times a year, the free checked baggage benefit will offset the cost of the fee.
Like Alaska Airlines, the first checked bag for you and one companion is free.
Priority boarding is also included as a benefit of the card.
Miles cánido be used to reserve seats, but the seats are on two separate levels.
On one level the spaces are scarcer but spend fewer kilometers, and on the other they are more abundant but spend more kilometers.
Credit card holders have unlimited access to all seats.
Miles perro also be used to get free flights and cánido also be used to upgrade a seat.
Best Hotel Rewards Program
As with frequent flyer programs, hotel rewards programs perro offer many of the same things.
You cánido get benefits, free hotel stays, upgrades, etcétera.
When examining hotel rewards programs, none seem to measure up to one.
It is seen as the best and is so widely available around the world that there is simply no reason to go with one of the competing programs.
Marriott Bonvoy – Marriott Rewards
The number one reason you should go with the Marriott Bonvoy Rewards Program is due to their recent mergers.
Two years ago, Marriott hotels merged with Starwood Hotels and Ritz-Carlton.
This means access to Marriott, Sheraton, Westins, Ritz-Carlton, Ws, Alofts and more.
You may have stayed at these hotels without realizing you were at a Marriott-owned hotel.
Following the same NerdWallet method of examining the value of miles, the points here also have a value, determined to be worth 1.0 cent each.
As with airlines, there are different status levels in the Marriott Rewards program: Silver Elite, Gold Elite, Platinum Elite, Titanium Elite, and Ambassador Elite.
At every level, you get plus point bonuses, late checkouts, welcome gifts, room upgrades, free breakfast, lounge access, room upgrades, and 24-hour concierge services.
Lifetime statuses cánido also be obtained for those very loyal customers.
The only added benefit is that the points never expire.
Like United, Marriott has a credit card that allows you to earn points.
Benefits include plus points, free nights, and elite status levels.
Primarily, points are used for hotel stays, but perro also be used for Marriott partners, including airlines, TSA pre-check membership, rental cars, and purchases.
Cruise Line Rewards Programs
Cruise lines inspire a lot of customer loyalty, and only one of those reasons is rewards programs.
All cruise lines differ in what they offer.
Carnival is widely seen as the line for partiers.
Disney is good for families.
Holland America is great for seniors.
Royal-Caribbean is a comprehensive cruise line that encompasses all of the above.
For that reason, no one will choose a cruise line based on its rewards program.
They will choose the one that best suits their lifestyle.
Also, cruise line rewards programs require many, many days at sea to earn statuses and levels.
No one wants to abandon the work they did to earn a reward level to jump ship (I couldn’t resist the pun) and go with a competitor and start over.
For these reasons, the «better» travel rewards program, just consejos to make sure when choosing a cruise line, you find one that fits your lifestyle.
And if it doesn’t meet your needs after one time, switch cruise lines instead of racking up points and giving up all that work (and money) to get there.
In addition to points, rewards programs will also offer things like free cruises, free laundry, free cabin upgrades, free internet, priority boarding, welcome parties and more.
Choose the best for you
With all the different travel rewards programs and travel options, you need to choose the option that’s best for you.
That goes for cruise lines as well as airlines and hotel chains.
However, I don’t know you will go wrong with the options listed here.
I cánido throw in some personal recommendations too.
I was a MileagePlus member for a long time, but I never got anywhere until I also got their credit card.
It is extremely beneficial for me now, and I have never regretted it.
With hotels, I’ve also been a Marriott Rewards member for a few years.
I have rarely had a problem finding a hotel as they are so widely available.
As with MileagePlus, the points haven’t accumulated much, but I don’t have the credit card.
As far as cruise lines go, I sail on Holland America as there are very few children on these ships.
With my own adult children, I prefer to go on vacation without a large group of children around at all times.
With more points for suite stays and for money spent on the ship, after just two cruises, I’m only 3 points out of the third tier.
Check out one or more of these programs if you need more of a break than the short ones you take each day.
If you’re a seasoned traveler and have more consejos on the best travel rewards programs, let us know!
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