If you don’t travel frequently enough that you think you should bother with preferred traveller programs or don’t want to bother with them for person travel, you might want to reconsider.
It annoys the non-travellers to no end the way the frequent travellers go on-and-on about the programs they belong to and how to maximize those benefits. But these programs aren’t just about getting points and other benefits — sometimes they get you better treatment.
It takes only a few minutes to fill-out the application for some of these programs. Although, for someone who moves as often as I do, I’ll admit it becomes a royal pain to keep them up-to-date with your most current information. Sometimes, they expire and it’s almost easier to apply for a new program number.
But all that aside, if you think you’ll be travelling any amount, seriously consider getting a card for items such as your rental car, hotel and airline. Use it even for your personal travel. Those of us who travel have noticed that we get better treatment when we use our program numbers. One consultant was telling me about how well he’s always been treated by one of the rental car companies whose program he belongs to. But he recently went to make a vacation rental and didn’t think to use his program number that he uses for his business travel and was surprised to find that he was treated quite badly. That same car company had treated me extremely badly when I rented without a preferred renter number and now that I have joined their renter’s club they have been extremely good to me.
There are other companies where we can tell these types of stories, as well. Once again, these are all free programs. It isn’t as if any of us are spending money on this but it makes a big difference, apparently. It’s not like the airport lounge clubs where you do often have to pay (unless you get it as a benefit through some other means). So, while it doesn’t seem to make sense that you’d be treated differently by enrolling in a free club, it does seem to make a difference.
So, even if you aren’t interested in the points or other benefits, there might be times when having these numbers can make your life easier in other ways.