For most travelers, booking their adventures usually involves flights, hotels, car rentals… and of course, using their credit cards to make it all possible. As everyone wants to get the best travel deals, it’s very common to join travel rewards programs to score free flights and room upgrades. While there are plenty of reward programs out there, these aren’t necessarily the easiest to keep track of. Because most rewards will expire at some point, finding a way to track them will ensure that you don’t inadvertently forfeit them just because you lost track. Keeping track of all of your points can also aid in the trip planning process, making it easier to maximize all of these rewards.
So, in order to not miss out on those travel discounts and freebies, here are a few ways to keep track of your travel rewards like a pro!
There’s an App For That!
While you can bookmark every reward program you are a part of on your computer, juggling that ever-growing information isn’t always easy. If you fear that your rewards are slipping through the cracks and not being redeemed, you might want to use a travel rewards tracking app. Two of the most popular third-party services to keep track of all of your rewards are the apps AwardWallet and MaxRewards. As the first tracking app on the scene, AwardWallet allows you to track loyalty programs for more than 670 vendors. You can choose to use either the free version or upgrade to premium. MaxRewards has also established itself as a leader in the industry by helping users to keep track of almost 700 programs targeted at banks and credit cards. This program is particularly helpful when tracking new user bonus progress. Like AwardWallet, you can choose to upgrade to a version with enhanced features. Another travel reward tracking app is MileBlaster. Focused on airline miles, this free app tells you exactly where you fall in each reward program to actually redeem a flight. Mile Blaster also lets you know about mileage specials through airlines, hotels, car rentals, and credit cards. While Mile Blaster is more airline-based, you can also keep track of your hotel, car rental, train, and credit card reward programs as well.
Keep in mind that not all airlines — and other travel-related companies — give these app permission to track members’ rewards. So, before downloading any app, be sure to check out their website to see if your reward programs are even supported!
Dedicate One Email Address to Travel Rewards Programs
Reward offers and updates frequently make their way to your inbox and quickly get lost in the shuffle. If you want to get serious about keeping track of your reward programs and their offers, you should try dedicating one email address exclusively to those. By having your reward programs sent to a different inbox, you will better see what is being sent to you. If all of your program offers are sent to one inbox, you won’t have to shift through work and personal emails to get to them. Therefore, you stand a better chance of seeing specials and time-sensitive offers to take advantage of if you have a separate email account for those notices!
There is no doubt that these tracking tools can be invaluable to anyone looking to turn their miles into cheap international flights in the most efficient way possible. However, third-party services also come with a few downsides that you need to consider. Keep in mind that not all loyalty programs will participate in these services, making it more difficult to keep your account up to date. There is also an upcharge on some of the best features that may not make it worth your while to invest in the service. Lastly, there is also an inherent security risk by contracting this service out to a third-party vendor. You might put yourself at risk of identity thieves gaining access to your username and password by choosing this route.
Because you’ll never be entirely sure that you’re doing it right until you do it yourself, one of the most efficient ways to know what rewards you have — or how close you are to obtaining discounts and freebies — is merely by scheduling an hour in your calendar each month to reward travel research. If you want to go old-school, you can also keep track of your awards manually using either Google Sheets or an Excel spreadsheet. The downside of this method is that it will not give you automatic updates to help you to keep track. The spreadsheet method will also not alert you if your points are expiring soon and you should use them. However, you will also be less likely to experience a breach of your account if you are not contracting this sensitive data out to a third-party vendor. In addition, you can customize your spreadsheet to track the elements that matter the most to you!
How do you keep track of your travel reward programs? Let us know in our comments section below!
Leave a Comment