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When you travel often, you learn pretty quickly that friends and family will only take you to the airport so often. Frequent travelers without convenient public transportation may find themselves parking in airport lots, which can easily end up costing more than $100 after a week’s travels.
Enter parking rewards programs, aiming to ease the pain of shelling out dough just so you can leave your car and travel elsewhere. "Frequent parker” awards and discounts are available, at no cost to you. Here’s where to find them.
» Learn more: NerdWallet’s best credit cards for transit spending
Nationwide frequent parking programs
These parking companies provide services at or near the nation’s largest airports. With these companies you can earn loyalty awards at rates that are generally lower than airport-managed parking.
Park ‘N Fly
Through Park ‘N Fly’s frequent parker program, members earn one free parking day for every seven paid days. Go away for a week and you’ve earned a free day of parking. The free day is available immediately.
There are 17 Park ‘N Fly lots around the country:
Those who park with Park 'N Fly for at least seven days will earn elite status. Elite status requirements are as follows:
Silver status: Seven to 13 days.
Gold status: 14 to 27 days.
Platinum status: 28 or more days.
Gold members receive a bonus award day upon reaching status and a 10% discount on parking, while platinum members receive two bonus award days and 15% off. Both status levels are eligible for preferred parking.
AmEx cardholders have reported that they can access AmEx parking discounts for Park N' Fly through special, intermittent offers on their account.
PreFlight Airport Parking
Members of PreFlight Airport Parking’s frequent parker program receive a free day of parking for every six days of paid parking. If you’d rather earn frequent flyer miles, you can opt to do so at a rate of 1 mile for every $1 spent on parking. Participating programs include American Airlines and United Airlines.
Enroll in Express Pass and earn even more perks. ExpressPass users receive up to 15% off parking rates and access to the "express lane."
» Learn more: Top airport rewards programs
Perhaps one of the best parking rewards programs is available through ParkRideFly USA. The company offers 46 airport locations, and its rewards system goes beyond parking. The frequent parker program has a point-based rewards system: Every parking reservation earns 1 point, and you’ll earn a free parking day after collecting 10 points. New enrollees earn 5 bonus points.
ParkRideFly USA has also partnered with Speedway’s Speedy Rewards. You’ll earn 400 Speedy Rewards points for every day you park.
You could redeem 4,250 points for a footlong sub at Speedy Cafe, or use 18,000 points for a $15 Subway gift card.
The Parking Spot
There are 39 Parking Spots serving 23 airports, and you can earn rewards after joining the Spot Club. You'll receive one free day of parking for every seven days of paid parking, as well as exclusive parking deals for members only.
Park with at the Parking Spot at least four times and become an elite member. You’ll qualify for benefits like one free day of parking on your Spot Club anniversary.
Additional discounts on car care services are 15% off for Silver members, 20% off for Gold members and 25% off for Platinum members. The latter two are also able to redeem points for one free car wash per year.
» Learn more: The beginner's guide to points and miles
Fast Park & Relax
With Relax for Rewards, each day you park earns you 1 point. Rewards can be redeemed at the following rates:
8 points = One free parking day
20 points = Three consecutive parking days
40 points = Up to seven consecutive parking days.
Refer friends to the program and you’ll receive a free day once they've paid for their first day parking. Your friends will earn a free parking day just for signing up.
Fast Park & Relax is available at 15 airports across the country.
One Stop Parking
Offering 70 parking systems throughout the U.S and Canada, One Stop Parking secures parking spaces at hotels, from which you can take free shuttles to the airport.
The company’s rewards system provides 100 points for every $1 spent. You can then use points towards discounted or free parking.
Elite status is available for those who take three or more qualifying trips:
Silver elite status: Three trips or 30,000 points
Gold elite status: Six trips or 60,000 points.
» Learn more: How credit card issuers define ‘travel’
Earn points with airport parking credit cards
There are several airport parking credit cards that can be used to earn and redeem points for parking.
For instance, many cardholders take advantage of Chase Sapphire airport parking perks. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® earn 3x points on travel. That can include some parking companies, if those purchases are coded as travel.
Or, pay for your car parking with the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which earns 2x back on all purchases. Capital One points are transferable to over 15 airline and hotel programs, making it one of the Swiss army knives of any sound points and miles strategy.
» Learn more: NerdWallet's quick start guide to points and miles
The bottom line
It doesn’t hurt to enroll in a free program to get free airport parking, even if you only travel a few times a year. Getting one free parking day after a 10-day vacation is still a good discount.
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 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card