Something for Nothing
How can you get something for nothing on holiday?
8 August 2012: Joining hotel member clubs could net you free perks or even an upgrade when you check in. Is this a myth, or can you really get something for nothing on holiday this summer?
When we asked our readers to send in their top holiday money-saving tips, we had some interesting responses. Nationwide member, Caroline Millen, suggested joining hotel loyalty schemes to get free upgrades:
“Contact the hotel before you book the holiday and try and join their members club if they have one. Then, once you arrive at your hotel destination, even if you are on a package holiday, the receptionist will sometimes upgrade your room and throw in a few extras for free!”
If you want to give this a go, do research before you travel. A quick search of the main hotel groups reveal most of them have a loyalty scheme of some sort:
InterContinental Hotels Group – Priority Club
Hotels include Ramada and Days Inn
In-hotel perks, free stays, discounts and air miles seem to be a popular feature of these loyalty schemes.
But it isn’t just hotels – check with your airline too. For example, if you fly with British Airways, you can join its Executive Club for free and collect ‘Avios’, which can eventually lead to rewards on flights and hotels. Another example is Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Club, where you can earn points towards flights and upgrades. Other airlines will have something similar, so check their websites.
So, why not try this trick this summer and see if you can get any free upgrades or discounts? Let us know at this poll on the Nationwide Facebook page – we’ll be interested to know the answer!
Before you book travel, trips or accommodation
Some of you will be looking for last-minute getaways. The obvious starting point is to shop around before booking, whether that is travel, trips or accommodation (see previous article). For example, member, Les Orchard, saved nearly £1,200 on his recent trip to Portugal. He saved over £600 by shopping around for flights, nearly £40 on currency and nearly £30 on parking – plus more. His advice is:
“Don't just book and go; do all your research well before you go. Lots of money to be saved here i.e. buy tickets for trips events etc.”
Another member, Timothy Lythe, saved over £150 by booking his train tickets and comparing hotel deals online. He said:
“I always look way in advance for tickets to see if I can get cheaper deals for air or rail travel to cut costs down and also compare hotels on various sites and travel agents to try and get the best deals possible.
“I tend to go on sites like laterooms.com or virgintrains.co.uk to try and find a good deal.”
However, think about what would happen if your travel provider were to go bankrupt when you’re abroad – you want to know you won’t get stranded. Read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) travel advice here. Decent providers will give you security by holding an Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL) or membership with an approved body such as ABTA.
Make sure you’re insured
Before you travel, don’t forget about travel insurance. A good policy will offer you peace of mind in case you get sick or injured, allowing you to relax and enjoy your holiday. Our main FlexAccount customers get free comprehensive European multi-trip travel cover* – click here to find out if you qualify.
Finally, enjoy your holiday!
* To qualify for travel insurance you must:
Be a permanent resident of the UK
Be aged 16-73
Hold a FlexAccount with a Visa debit card (not cash card or cash card+) and either,
complete an account transfer with us, transferring all your direct debits and standing orders from another bank or building society to your FlexAccount
deposit at least £750 into your FlexAccount per month for at least 3 consecutive months (excluding internal transfers)
Eligibility will be assessed when the account transfer is complete or at the end of the month, when you have deposited £750 or more
Cover is for 31 maximum trip days, underwritten by UK Insurance, cover is reviewed once per year, pre-existing medical conditions must be disclosed.