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As much as we love to travel, we know that flying can get frustrating at times. Don’t you worry because we’ve listed down three frequent flyer tips that can help you.
These aren’t just the basic travel tips that you already know like “charging your devices” or “bringing a neck pillow.” These are tips and tricks we’ve used for years that has helped us save money or avoid the hustle and bustle of flying.
1. Get A TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Membership
TSA Precheck and Global Entry are both Trusted Travel Programs. They are accredited by the U.S Customs and Border Protection to help screen and approve travelers who enter the airport.
Getting a membership from any of these programs is one of the frequent flyer tips we’d suggest. You’ll basically pass through special lanes and just breeze through without the hustle and bustle.
TSA Precheck membership costs $85 and it lasts for five years. It will give you access to all TSA Precheck lanes at over 200 airports and 73 airlines.
Applying for a membership is easy. You just need to submit an online application, schedule an in-person interview, and have your information stored in their database.
Once that’s all done, you can use your KTN (Known Travel Number) and pass through airport security without having to remove your belts, shoes, jackets, and etc. Now, wouldn’t that be nice? You’ll avoid those big families, kids on field trips, or first-time travelers who take forever to get through security.
Global Entry membership costs $100 and it also lasts for five years. Once you’ve applied for a membership, you’ll get a PASSID which is a counterpart of the KTN.
Members will use this number on their tickets so they can proceed to Global Entry Kiosks, have their identity verified, and fill up a customs declaration form. What’s great about it is it also covers international destinations like Mexico and Canada.
2. Check Your Credit Card Perks
Credit cards can do more than just buy the things that you want. Most cards come with valuable perks that frequent flyers would love so much, such as travel insurance, upgrades, freebies, and more.
In fact, here are some examples:
Contrary to what the general public says, airport lounges aren’t just for VIPs. They’re for anyone who wants to relax, dine, sleep, or even take a shower during those long-haul flights.
Typically, getting a day pass or an annual membership gives you access to these lounges but getting a credit card will do the trick too.
For example, signing up for the Delta Reserve Business will give you free access to more than 50 Delta SkyClub locations. Meanwhile, the Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with a Priority Pass membership which gives you access to more than 1300 airport experiences.
Trip Delay & Lost Baggage Insurance
Lost baggage and trip delays can’t be avoided so that’s why most credit cards come with insurance coverage that will benefit frequent flyers.
The Delta SkyMiles Platinum card is a perfect example. It gives cardholders up to $300 trip delay insurance, up to $1250 lost carry-on baggage insurance, and up to $500 lost checked baggage insurance.
What’s great about the trip delay and lost baggage insurance is it applies to your spouse or domestic partner and dependents (terms apply). Just make sure that all reservations were booked using your credit card.
Travel Statement Credits
A statement credit is basically a reimbursement once you make an eligible purchase using your card. It usually gets posted to your account after a few days or weeks.
For example, the Amex Business Platinum offers a $200 travel credit whenever you make travel-related purchases towards flight tickets, hotel reservations, or car rentals.
Take note that it’s not just Amex that has this feature. Other cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a $300 travel credit for its cardholders.
Read More: A Beginners Guide To Airport Lounges
3. Sign-Up For A Frequent Flyer Program
There’s so much in store if you sign up for a frequent flyer program such as:
- Delta Airlines SkyMiles
- Norwegian Rewards
- American Airlines AAdvantage
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- JetBlue TrueBlue
- United Airlines MileagePlus.
How it works is you earn points or miles which you can redeem as rewards like free flights, free hotel stays, discounted products, early access to events, and more.
Let’s discuss some examples.
Different frequent flyer programs offer different rewards so it’s okay to sign up for more than one program to get more benefits.
For example, Rapid Rewards don’t allow members to redeem their points towards airline amenities like extra bags or in-flight drinks, but Norwegian Rewards allows it.
Meanwhile, SkyMiles and AAdvantage are examples of rewards programs that allow members to upgrade seats using points.
Typically, you have the option to redeem your points towards festivals, vacations, concerts, or sporting events, depending on the kind of frequent flyer program you have.
However, the coronavirus pandemic may have affected most rewards programs turning physical activities into virtual activities temporarily. For example, SkyMiles Experiences currently have the virtual cooking demonstration with Chef Michael Mina and the virtual video chat with Kyle Rudolph & Autographed Vikings jersey.
Thoughts From Points Panda:
These frequent flyer tips will definitely help you travel like a pro on your next adventure (after the pandemic is over of course). You won’t be having a hard time lining up at crowded check-in counters or staying at noisy terminals.
Get A Starter Credit Card
We’ve mentioned above a few credit cards like the Amex Platinum Business or the Delta Reserve Business which have amazing benefits like TSA Precheck, travel credits, and more.
However, they can be expensive and difficult to get approved for especially if you’re just starting out with travel hacking. The annual fees can cost between $100-$500 and you’d need really good credit.
Don’t get discouraged though because there are a few starter cards out there with no annual fees but also comes with decent perks and rewards. One example is the Discover It Miles which is a good credit card for traveling abroad because it doesn’t have annual fees or foreign transaction fees.