The Best Loyalty Progams for Infrequent Travellers

You know the type: she floats past you at hotel check-in and is greeted by name.  Her company covers all her travel expenses, and as a sweet bonus, she earns zillions of air miles and loyalty points. She always gets a room upgrade, and every year,  she gives the nanny a week off, and flies her family to Disney for FREE…using points. GRRRR! But wait. Don’t be jealous.  There are still many ways to cash in on loyalty programs even if you’re not a frequent traveller. And, since most loyalty programs are free to join, you have nothing to lose.

Westjet Rewards
Without even stepping foot on a plane, Westjet Rewards will give you exclusive seat sales and members only promo codes for flight discounts up to 30%. and the opportunity to “double dip” with the WestJet RBC® World Elite MasterCard.  The thing we really love about Westjet Rewards? Once you start collecting, you don’t have to save up of for the big ticket. You can redeem any amount, anytime, starting from $25 WestJet dollars.

Marriot Rewards
Although their top tier is hard to reach, the Marriot Rewards Basic is worth signing up for.  Currently, Marriott Rewards has a very good promotion: join now, and earn a free night after your 2nd stay!  As a Rewards member, you get free standard in-room Wi-Fi when you book directly through, Marriott’s mobile app, 1-800 MARRIOTT, or through a Marriott hotel. And if you like air miles, Marriott Rewards can be redeemed for flights through more than 30 airline rewards programs like United MileagePlus and Delta SkyMiles.

Best travel rewards for the infrequent traveller Kimpton Karma

Photo: Kimpton Hotels #WhoDoesThat

Kimpton Karma
Kimpton Karma is for the drinkers and dog lovers! With Kimpton Hotels – a global group of pet-friendly boutique hotels – you get free Wi-Fi the moment you join, and on your next stay, you get a $10 mini bar credit! Kimpton Hotels pride themselves on guest service, to the point where they created a totally quirky ad campaign suggesting that just before you check in, a half-man, half goat puts some special touches in your room, just for you. If free wifi and a mini bar credit don’t totally delight you, these hilarious ad campaign videos will definitely tickle your funny bone!

Fairmont President’s Club
The Fairmont President’s Club is free to join, but the complimentary, in-hotel benefits are provided on the stay following enrolment. This hotel rewards program is one of our favourites, because of all the little extras. After all, what’s a loyalty club for, if not to make you feel like a special guest? Even at the lowest tier, the Fairmont President’s Club offers complimentary Wi-Fi, free newspapers, free gym gear, free access to the fitness centre and discounts at the Willow Stream Spa. Plus, at Fairmont, Club Members get VIP treatment as soon as they walk in the door, at the Fairmont’s presidents concierge checkin. Nice!

Although it’s not a loyalty program, Airmiles can bring you plenty of rewards. The best thing about the Airmiles program is that you can earn points almost anywhere, through activities that you probably already do. Gas, groceries, drugstores, The Children’s Place or using your BMO credit card  can earn you valuable miles, which seem to add up like magic. While friends of ours earned enough points for a Dyson vacuum cleaner, we checked out points, and were totally gobsmacked we realized that after 6 years of everyday spending, we actually had enough points for a round trip to Europe.

Travel Rewards for the Infrequent Traveller Dromoland Castle Ireland

Get free wifi and late checkout…at a Castle in Ireland! Photo: iprefer

If luxury boutique is your style, then look no further. iPrefer is a relatively new elite hotel reward program for boutique hotels across North America and Europe. With iPrefer, basic rewards are immediate: early checkin, late checkout and free WiFi for members.

Starwood Preferred Guest 
Even at the lowest tier, SPG members can gain savings of up to 30% at over 1000 restaurants and bars worldwide (including most Sheratons and Westin hotel restaurants and bars). These discounts apply even if you are not a guest at the hotel! If you do happen to become a Starwood Preferred Guest® , you get Complimentary in-room Internet access when you book through the websites or the SPG apps.

Best loyalty programs for infrequent travellers CAA travel rewards

Photo: CAA

The CAA is more than just a tow service! Yes, the CAA does have an annual fee, but it’s worth it. At the lowest, ‘Classic’ tier, members receive a Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Membership. The CAA also opens up a world of discounts, from concert tickets to hotel stays. including discounts at Delta Hotels and Disney Cruises and Resort holidays!  And of course, the CAA will also take care of you on the road!

Best Western 
Best Western Rewards is recognized as one of the best hotel loyalty programs out there, but did you know you may already be an elite member? Best Western will match your ELITE status in any other hotel program. All you have to do is provide them with proof of elite status with another hotel program, and they will take care of the rest!

Hilton Honours
Even at the Hilton Honours‘ Blue Tier, you can take advantage of quick reservations, check-ins based on your room preferences, late check-out and express check-out. Hilton also allows you to  exchange points for airline miles with participating airline partners  such as Air Canada and British Airways. This summer Hilton Honours has a promotion where members can earn double points or double miles.

Best Loyalty Programs for the Infrequent Traveller Captain Obvious’s Captain Obvious. Much like their rewards program, he is deliciously direct. Rewards is one to watch. This Expedia company offers the tenth night free at any one of its 100, 000 hotels, a battery of online booking and travel-planning tools and a website full of deals and special offers. In a move that rivals the online comparison sites like Hotwire, has recently launched a  Secret Prices scheme, featuring deals available only to members who unlock them.   Best of all, comes with truly loveable spokesperson, the gorgeously forthright Captain Obvious, who talks frankly about  online booking appscreepy rooms and, obviously, hotels. (If you giggled at the goat, you’re going to love the Captain.)

Rewards Canada
Last but not least, Rewards Canada is not a program in itself, but an indispensable website for Canadians who like to collect points. Founded by Calgarian Patrick Sojka, Rewards Canada has been compiling information about hotel, credit card and airline loyalty programs since 2001 and today, his site is considered a premier resource for travel rewards on the Internet. This site is NOT just for the business travellers. If you like hearing about special offers, deals and tips and tricks for maximizing your reward benefits, then check out Rewards Canada!