This post is part of the Travel Hacking 101: First Class in 90 Days series.
Before you can start collecting miles and points from different rewards programs, you need to first have accounts with each program. Joining rewards programs is free and only requires filling out some basic information. You don’t need to have a credit card with the program to become a member of that airline/hotel’s rewards program.
You should join every program you can think of, even if you’ve never taken a flight with that airline or stayed a night in one their hotels. Trust me on this one, it will come in handy later.
Below I’ve put together a list of the programs you should join after reading this post. I know there are a lot of programs listed and you might be wondering how you are supposed to keep track of all of this. That’s where AwardWallet comes in.
AwardWallet is a free website/app that keeps track of all your reward programs for you in one place. Instead of having to go to each reward program’s website to check your balance, status and points’ expiration dates, you can check them all at once on AwardWallet. You can even auto-login to each rewards program from your AwardWallet dashboard. No need to remember all your usernames and passwords. AwardWallet handles it all.
For $30/year you can upgrade to AwardWallet Plus. The Plus features can be seen here. Otherwise, it’s completely free. In the beginning of your travel hacking career, I think the free version gets the job done, but as you collect more and more points, the upgrade to Plus is definitely worth it.
Your “action items” for this post are:
- Sign Up for AwardWallet.
- Sign Up for every rewards program listed below, adding your new account info to AwardWallet as you go.
Here is a list of the programs you should be joining at a minimum:
- Air France
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Delta Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Korean Air
- Singapore Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin America
Feel free to sign up for programs I haven’t listed here! These are just the bare minimum you should be signing up for.
Stay tuned for the next part of the series. You are one step closer to your free first class flight!