I love perks. Of course, who doesn’t? I collect them as much as possible—from airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, and anyone else who will pass them out. Not only are they a nice little reward for all the time and money I spend on their services, they make travel that much nicer. Since I travel so much, I am constantly striving to make every trip as easy and streamlined as possible, and am always on the lookout for perks to make that happen. Here are a few of my favorites.
Executive lounges in hotels. I have enjoyed the lounges on executive floors in Hilton and Marriott hotels, and think they are well worth the higher room cost. I usually make the extra cost back by enjoying the breakfast offerings. It is also very nice to have a hotel employee nearby, dedicated to helping business travelers. My best experience with a hotel lounge was the Edsa Shangri-La Garden Wing in Manila. Not only was there a fantastic breakfast and happy hour spread, guests in the Garden Wing had expedited check in and check out, a back door entrance, and fast and easy money exchange. I will always, always stay there when traveling to Manila in the future. (I’ve also noticed on Executive floors the toiletries are often upgraded, which I love.)
Priority security line at airports. Going through the priority security line by having a first class ticket or having elite status with an airline loyalty program is the biggest time saver. I have seen airports (I’m thinking specifically of Chicago Midway, although this has happened all over the place) where the normal security line is backed up all the way to the entrance, and there are fewer than five people in the priority line. If I ever lost status this is the perk I would miss the most, even over boarding first.
First class upgrades. The other great thing about elite status with an airline is getting upgraded to first class on a regular basis. The extra room alone makes it wonderful, but of course the extra attention and free drinks don’t hurt!
No check in when renting cars. Many car rental companies don’t make their frequent renters check in, therefore avoiding long lines. This is a huge time saver, allowing me to simply walk from the airport gate to my car, and go.
Points. Of course, points. Who would pass up free stays in hotels, free flights, and free car rentals? I make sure I am registered for the loyalty program for all airlines, hotels, and car rental agencies I use. I also keep an eye out for double points or other promotions, to make sure I maximize my points.
Readers, what perks make travel easier for you? What are your favorite travel perks?