For the last three months or so, I’ve been attending a (very small) travel club at work. Basically a group of us get together every Thursday and share travel tips and advice, and then ask questions. Most of us have been abroad for a number of years, so we have lots of travel experience – especially when we all get together. The group is run by our high-school counselor who is an expert traveler and therefore full of all sorts of helpful advice.
So far the best thing I’ve learned is the Priority Pass – essentially a credit card sized pass that allows you access any of the first class lounges at almost all of the airports in the world (which, of course, you must pay an annual fee to join). I’ve never had the privilage of spending time in any of the fancy airport lounges I’ve hauled my exhausted body past on the way to the crowded, loud, waiting room for regular people, but I think I would like it. This may be one I have to invest in, considering all of the traveling I do…
The other major tip I’ve learned is to consolidate frequent flier miles. I seem to have developed the habit of signing up for frequent flier miles for every airline that I fly. I never bother to look if one of my already existing milage programs is linked to the airline I’m about to fly. For example: I’m flying Singapore Air home for the summer, then Thai Airways to BKK back in August. When I bought the tickets I signed up for each airline’s FF program. Now I know that they are both part of Star Alliance and I already have tens of thousands of miles with Lufthansa (also part of Star Alliance). Whoops!
So, now I’m trying to make an effort to consolidate all of my miles with one or two carriers. I think I’m going to switch to United for all my travels with the Star Alliance airlines, simply because they’re an American airline and my gut tells me they’ll have better customer service than Lufthansa (after 5 years in Munich, the last place I’m going to look for excellent customer service is a German company). Plus, I’ve read that United has a great FF program – now that I see how many airlines are connected through the Mileage Plus network, it makes sense to put all those miles in one place.
What are your best travel secrets?