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Winning the Loyalty Game: What Every Traveller Needs to Know

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With so many rewards programs available to Canadians these days, it can leave your head spinning trying to navigate which will reap the best rewards for your travel lifestyle. Vision Travel, the largest Canadian-owned and operated travel management company, has compiled a few tips to keep in mind when trying to win the loyalty game.

Personal preferences
Let your travel advisor know more about your lifestyle, preferences and habits when travelling. They will be able to advise which hotel loyalty program best suits your needs. For example, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has a partnership with Reebok - 'Fairmont Fit.' All guests who are members of their loyalty program can request Reebok workout attire and shoes to be waiting for them in their room on arrival. The clothes and shoes can be used throughout your stay then returned when you leave at no charge. This is ideal for business travellers who like to work-out while on the road but don't want to carry around bulky sports gear

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Non-travel related rewards
Most of the major travel loyalty programs have expanded the redemption possibilities - so you no longer need to redeem the points you earned just on flight or room upgrades, but could instead redeem for gift certificates, tickets to concerts or sporting events or even in certain retail

Learn about partnerships
Points and miles from one company's loyalty program don't need to necessarily be redeemed or collected by that particular program. For instance, if you collect AAdvantage points with American Airlines, you can still use those points against British Airways or Iberia.


Hunt for promotions
Much like 'The Pudding Guy' in the 2002 Adam Sandler movie 'Punch-Drunk Love', who collected millions of miles by astutely recognizing the value of a limited time offer. Special deals may mean you can collect a huge number of miles or points that exceed the cost of the product.

Keep track
For those that take collecting miles and points seriously, take advantage of free services such as Award Wallet that will keep track of all your activity as well as expiration dates for the points you've already collected. If you don't have the time to monitor everything yourself, but want to make sure you're getting the most out of frequent business travel, for an additional cost most travel advisors will be able to do this on your behalf.

Credit cards
If you're spending money for personal or business reasons on a credit card, take out a card with your preferred airline so you can earn points with every dollar you spend - an easy way to boost your loyalty points.


Be loyal
Perhaps an obvious point but in order to really win at the loyalty game, try to be as loyal as possible to your preferred brands and partners. You'll gain significantly more benefits and rewards at a much quicker rate by sticking with just a few companies, rather than attempting to earn with a number of different programs all at once.

Make sure you're eligible for your hotel's free offers
Many hotel loyalty programs are free to join and give instant benefits without needing to build up extensive points. When you're checking into a new hotel, find out if they have a free loyalty program because you just may find yourself with complimentary WiFi or parking without spending a dime.