Travel Loyalty Program Perks You Might Not Know About

Ramsey Qubein
By Ramsey Qubein 
Edited by Mary M. Flory

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The new year brings a zero balance to most of our elite status counters, though there are lots of ways to stack up miles and points to redeem for travel later in the year. But once you've earned all those points, do you really know what they get you?

Here, we rounded up seven lesser-known loyalty program perks that you might have overlooked. While they may not apply to everyone, those with relevant status or credit cards may be surprised at what they've been missing out on. Others might decide that these perks are valuable enough that they need to jump on the bandwagon themselves.

1. Sharing airline club membership

One of the most popular perks of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is that an authorized user can be added to the card without any additional cost. Since the card comes with complimentary Admirals Club membership, you can extend access to a family member or friend by making them an authorized user. Additionally, cardholders can bring two guests into the lounge with them.

Obviously, you would only want to add someone you trust as an authorized user. If you get this card for the club access alone, you can lower the credit limit so there is less exposure to anyone putting unwanted charges on your card.

2. You can share your elite status through World of Hyatt Guest of Honor

World of Hyatt permits top-tier Globalist members to share their status benefits with others by making award bookings for them. This perk means that benefits like late checkout, free breakfast and suite upgrades can be enjoyed by those who don’t get to travel as much.

3. Free parking and waived resort fees for World of Hyatt Globalists

World of Hyatt Globalist members don’t need to pay for parking when staying on award bookings. This could present hefty savings in big cities where parking prices are sky-high. Note that this perk is only valid at hotels that run their own parking facility.

When staying at resorts, Globalists can also get those pesky resort fees waived, regardless of whether they’re redeeming points or booking a paid rate. Resort fees for all other Hyatt elite members are waived on award bookings.

4. Earn points after referring friends to Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott Bonvoy can dish up points after you persuade others to sign up. Members can earn up to 50,000 bonus points per year after referring new members. Refer up to five new members each calendar year — once a friend joins, both of you will earn 2,000 bonus points for each of their first five stays.

5. Free reciprocal elite status

If you’re a United MileagePlus Premier Gold, Premier Platinum or Premier 1K member, you may not realize that you qualify for Marriott elite status too. Simply link your Marriott Bonvoy and United MileagePlus accounts to take advantage of this perk.

United’s most frequent flyers are gifted Marriott Bonvoy Gold status, which comes with bonus points and potential room upgrades. It works in reverse, too, with Marriott’s Titanium and Ambassador Elite members receiving automatic United MileagePlus Premier Silver status. Though it's United’s lowest level status, Premier Silver still includes perks like a free checked bag, bonus miles on flights and space-available seat upgrades.

6. Jump to the front of the car rental line

Many airlines offer elite status with car rental partners for their most frequent flyers. Delta offers top-level President’s Circle status with Hertz to its Platinum and Diamond Medallion members. Qualifying Medallion members just need to link their Delta and Hertz accounts to receive these benefits.

United MileagePlus Premier Platinum and 1K members qualify for Hertz President’s Circle status. This benefit is also extended to those with a United Club℠ Infinite Card or United℠ Presidential Plus℠ Card.

Hertz President’s Circle status comes with a one-class car rental upgrade, expedited car rental pickup and valet service back to the airport following a car dropoff.

7. Free or discounted Clear membership

The Clear expedited security-line program is available in more than 60 airports, stadiums and other venues nationwide. Clear lets you identify yourself via fingerprint or iris scan instead of presenting physical identification. Annual membership costs $189 but is free to Delta Diamond Medallion members and United Premier 1K members. Other elite members with Delta and United are eligible for discounted Clear memberships.

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 2024, including those best for:

Travel Cards from Our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.


Intro offer


Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.


Intro offer


Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.


Intro offer


Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

See more travel cards
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