Why don’t I show loyalty?
Why don’t I show loyalty to one airline or hotel loyalty program? Why do I remain a travel loyalty program free agent? Umm because—I don’t have much money but I still want to go places. TravelZork asked me to write this article. I wouldn’t have written it on my own because it’s kind of personal.
When Michael first asked me to write for TravelZork, I didn’t take it seriously. When he asked me a second time, I said, “But I don’t do what you do.” He responded with, “But you do travel and you do gamble. I want all perspectives for TravelZork.” I couldn’t argue with that. The only way I am able to afford casino play and travel is because of the cost saving methods I use and once I thought about that, I realized that I do have something to write about.
My Priorities and Travel Loyalty Programs
Price is my number one priority for airfare, so I use Southwest Airlines for domestic travel because you can cancel and re-book if fares go down. You can use airline credits for up to a year from the initial booking, so I can stalk lower fares on Southwest or make a tentative reservation on Southwest and cancel if I find a much lower fare on an ultra-low cost carrier. I did this when I booked my airfare for ZorkFest in May of 2018. I originally booked on Southwest Airlines at about $260, but when Spirit Air came in at $130, I canceled Southwest and flew Spirit. (Bags aren’t free on Spirit Air, but for a $130 savings, I traveled with just a personal item.)
Yes, it takes more time to pack ultralight but I fly to get from Point A to Point B. The less I spend, the more places I go! The further I stretch my gambling bankroll, the more video poker I get to play. The cheaper I get to Las Vegas, the greater chance I have to return home with a net win.
If you use Rapid Rewards points to book your Southwest Airlines flight and you cancel, the points go right back into your account. Any fees you paid remain as a credit (If you have a Southwest Airlines credit card, the fees get returned to the card.) After I let $60 in Southwest Airlines credit expire this year, I decided to only use points to book speculatively with Southwest, so I’m always on the lookout for ways to build my Southwest Airlines point balance (or any point balance for that matter).
Planning – Stretch Your Dollars and Your Points
Hotels are expensive (unless I’m staying comped in a gambling destination.) So, I do participate in hotel travel loyalty programs, but I stretch those points as far as they will go. Sometimes there are discounted booking rates with points or promotions where you get extra nights or perks. Five star hotels are great, but three star hotels for three days are better! A quick public transportation ride outside of a city center is also worth the trip.
Really, all you have to do, is decide you want to go somewhere and start planning. That is what I always tell people that haven’t traveled that much. That has always been my traveling motto. If you want to go badly enough, you’ll find an affordable way to fund the adventure. (Of course, TravelZork will help you do it!)