You have enrolled in hotel loyalty programs, signed with a resounding yes for airline miles, and secured credit cards that aid in your travel rewards. Next is joining airport loyalty programs that reward you for shopping and dining at the airport, something many of us do anyway when we travel. There are not a ton of airports offering loyalty programs yet, but here are ways you can get a little something extra when traveling.
Travel often to London? Try Heathrow Rewards
London Heathrow (LHR), which is renowned for providing a shopping mall experience for travelers, offers Heathrow Rewards. When you register your credit card during enrollment in the program, you’ll collect 1 point for every £1 spent at over 80 retail brands; 36 restaurants, cafes and bar brands; and parking at Heathrow and Heathrow Express transportation. If you exchange currency at Travelex, a point is earned for every £10. Additional points may be earned at Heathrow’s airport lounges and by booking hotels through Rocketmiles — up to 10,000 points per night on reservations.
Redeeming rewards is easy, as members receive a card to scan for payments at duty-free, Dixons Travel, Plaza Premium Lounge and additional participating stores. Five hundred points is worth £5. The same equation is provided through airport shopping vouchers that can be used at hundreds of stores. You can also use your points toward your miles program, including Miles & More by Lufthansa, British Airways Avios and Emirates Skywards (250 Heathrow Rewards points equals 250 miles).
New members receive 100 points just for registering.
» Learn more: 4 award sweet spots using British Airways Avios
Is France your hotspot? Go for My Paris Aeroport
In Paris, Charles de Gaulle (CDG) offers My Paris Aeroport program. Being a member means free high-speed Wi-Fi at the airport and an ongoing 5% discount at participating airport shops including BuY Paris Duty Free, as well as on parking when booked online using the Paris Aeroport app. Members collect 2 points for every euro spent in partner stores such as Travel & Co. and Relay, as well as for online parking reservations.
To redeem points, vouchers are provided in increments: €5 is awarded for 500 points (or €10 off of parking) that can be used in the airport’s partner shops. You can also transfer 500 points into 500 miles with Air France/KLM Flying Blue or 250 hotel points toward Le Club AccorHotels. Additional deals are offered on the website, too.
New members receive 100 points for registering and a €5 discount on the first booking. Refer a friend and receive an additional 500 points.
Italiano more your route? ViaMilano may work for you
For frequent travelers through Milano (MXP), the ViaMilano program partners with more than 200 stores and restaurants while also providing members free Wi-Fi and a 15% discount on parking. Earn 10 points for every euro you spend at the partner locations.
Take your well-earned points and receive VIP Lounge access (9,000 points), a chance to Fast Track (2,000 points) or receive €15 to €45 vouchers to use at the partners, starting at 6,000 points.
New members will receive 200 bonus points and two Fast Track passes after making their visit purchase.
Flying Down Under? The Strata Club is the Kiwi way
Auckland Airport (AKL) in New Zealand offers the Strata Club. Like other international airports, free Wi-Fi is an immediate benefit of the free program, and you’ll earn points when shopping, dining and parking at Auckland Airport. Where the program differs is in its elite tier structure to provide additional benefits for those in Silver, Gold and Platinum status. Free drinks, parking upgrades, a free bottle of wine and lounge access are granted for members who spend $250 (silver), $800 (gold) or $2,000 (platinum) in a year. Regardless of status, spend $1 and you'll earn a point.
Vouchers are provided as rewards for your purchases. Every 500 points equates to a $5 voucher that can be used at the partner shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. Earn and redeem at 14 shops, nine restaurants, airport parking and lounges, and even for travel insurance through Cigna.
A frequent flyer in the U.S.? Thanks Again is for you
Without having to be tied down to just one airport — and providing coverage throughout the U.S. — Thanks Again is a rewards program that works with more than 100 airports, including eight airports in Florida and 17 in California. Enroll and enter your credit cards (up to 99, so you can earn points on any card in your wallet) then you’re all set to earn typically 1 point per every dollar at participating partners. In Miami (MIA), for instance, earn points at Corona Beach House or shop at CNBC for points in San Francisco. The world’s busiest airport, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International (ATL), features ATL Rewards, which uses the Thanks Again model for its own program.
When you are ready to redeem points, visit your online account for available ways to spend your points. Items include gift cards, such as a $15 Amazon or Uber gift card (1,500 points). Points may be converted to Alaska Airlines miles, American AAdvantage miles, Frontier Miles, Southwest Rapid Rewards or United MileagePlus miles. Awards are provided through a Visa prepaid debit card that you can use anywhere, with 1,000 points valued at $10.
» Learn more: How to maximize your Priority Pass Select membership
Member of the EU? Give Privium a look
Although all the programs listed here are free, in Amsterdam you’ll have to pay to be a member of Privium. This program doesn’t score you savings on food, drink and shopping, but instead gets you through the airport more quickly. Basic, which provides security and border fast tracking as rewards, costs €140 annually. Plus, which gives members lounge access, fast check-in and priority parking, is €235 per year. The catch? It is only available to European Union members.
Airports that are offering loyalty programs are making it worth it (because they are nearly all free). This may become a growing trend that you can get on early with nothing to lose.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best travel credit card for you How to pick your first travel rewards credit card 8 ways to keep your travel credit card working for you