You probably already know this, but it needs to be said: If you have a spouse or partner that you travel with often, you may be able to earn twice as many points and miles. With every great deal that comes along, you may be able to take advantage of it twice: once for you and once for your partner. If you are pursuing this game on your own, then you’re leaving many rewards behind. Here are some examples of ways to double your rewards:
Credit Card Sign-Up Offers
If both you and your partner have excellent credit scores and good credit habits (i.e. you both pay off your bills in full each month), then this is a fantastic opportunity. Instead of just you signing up for a 50,000 point offer, you and your partner could each sign up and earn 100,000 points instead. It’s not unusual for a person to earn 200,000 or more points from a single set of applications so, with a partner, you could be looking at earning 400,000 points or more every 3 or 4 months!
A number of hotel credit cards offer free nights instead of points. For example, the Chase Hyatt card offers two free nights at any Hyatt in the world when you sign up. Imagine if you and your partner both sign up for this card and then stay four nights at an amazing hotel such as the Park Hyatt Sydney or the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort. Hotels like these usually charge over $500 per night, but you and your partner could stay four nights for free!
One limitation to remember regarding credit card sign-ups is that by doubling the number of cards you sign up for, you will also double the minimum spend requirements for earning those points. If this is an issue for you, concentrate mostly on sign-up offers with small minimum spend requirements.
Every now and then, a hotel, airline, or other business comes out with a promotion that’s almost too good to be true. For example, in late 2011 (and again in mid-2012), Radisson offered 50,000 points for a one night stay! This was such a great deal that it absolutely made sense to book a night at a cheap Radisson hotel just for the points. When deals like this come along, make sure that both you and your partner are signed up. Then, make sure you each meet the conditions of the promotion (for example, by each booking a one night stay). Note that with most hotels you do need to go to the hotel and check in even if you do not plan to spend the night there. Hotels will automatically check you out in the morning if you don’t do so yourself.
Similar deals have been seen with airlines that offer double or triple miles earned on flights, or car rentals that offer bonus airline miles for each daily rental. With airlines it can sometimes make sense to do “mileage runs” to earn miles.This is where you literally fly around for no purpose other than to collect miles. Similarly, it can sometimes make sense to rent cars just for the points. In all of these cases it is really important to do the math first to see if the earnings are worth it.
Miscellaneous Other Offers
Every now and then a business will offer bonus points or miles for new customers only. With a partner, it’s easy to double your earnings with deals like these or alternate between getting accounts.
If you enjoy the perks of airline and hotel elite status, it’s worth noting that as long as you and your partner travel together your elite benefits can often be shared. For example, when booking a hotel room, always book from the account of the person with status so that you’ll be treated well during the stay. If you are booking a stay with points, some programs will let you freely move points to your spouse (Starwood and Club Carlson are two examples). It can be worth doing so before booking in order to ensure that your stay is booked at the highest elite level. If you can’t transfer points or free night certificates, consider booking the beginning of the stay from the elite person’s account and the rest of the nights from the other person’s account. When you go to check in, point out to the staff that you’re really planning one continuous stay. If you’re lucky, elite benefits will be extended to the entire stay.
With airlines, it is sometimes the case that everyone on the itinerary is treated as elite if the primary passenger is elite. For example, with United, everyone on one itinerary is granted the same perks as the person who booked the flight. With Delta, it’s a bit murkier in that some of the elite benefits are shared, but not all. Regardless, as with hotels, it’s usually best to book flights from the elite passenger’s account.
If you travel often with a partner, you will find that you can travel further and better for less by working together. If a deal is really good, then it’s probably good to do twice!
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