Best Rewards Programs for Business Travelers
To get what you want out of a frequent flier, hotel or car-loyalty program, pick the best one for your needs and use it regularly, suggests Chris McGinnis, editor of YouMustBeTrippin.com, Best Western's travel blog.
“Most frequent travelers want recognition from companies they patronize the most,” says Mc.Ginnis.
Choosing the best rewards programs depends mostly on your nearest airport and the hotels located in your most frequently visited cities. Forum FlyerTalk.com helps business travelers examine their options and AwardWallet.com helps travelers track and boost rewards.
Rewards are maximized when used along with program-sponsored credit cards, especially now that loyalty programs are becoming driven by how much money you spend versus how much you travel, says Jason Clampet, senior online editor for Frommers.com, a travel information website.
A few loyalty programs stand out for their convenience, perks, reward options and VIP treatment:
The program offers levels based on the number of rentals you accumulate. The basic program is free and allows you to bypass the counter and select vehicle upgrades from the “Emerald Aisle.” The top tier guarantees car availability with 24 hours’ notice, free rentals and car delivery. Club members can earn 2 free rental coupons with the “One Two Free” promotion. “[They] can be stacked with other coupons and discounts so they can save you a lot of money,” says Mark Mannell, CEO of CarRentalSavers.com, a car-rental booking site.
Starwood Preferred GuestThe program includes brands such as the W, Westin and Sheraton hotels and gold status starting at 25 nights. Platinum status with 50 nights offers free breakfast, late checkout and rewards for suite stays. “[Late checkout] can just be a lifesaver when you have an afternoon flight,” says Dave Grossman, owner of HotelMagician.com, a hotel-booking site.
The Starwood Preferred Guest AmEx helps travelers rack up rewards faster. “Their dollars mean more,” Clampet says of the program. Starpoints are also transferrable to several airline partners, with bonus points upon redemption.
The Delta SkyMiles Platinum AmEx offers many ways to earn rewards and VIP status without flying. You get 25,000 SkyMiles for spending $50,000. That’s 5,000 miles from Delta’s lowest status level, which offers expedited security lines and waived baggage fees.