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This week TPG reader Nate asked a question via Twitter:
@thepointsguy–” My wife and I both travel for work. Should we be loyal to the same airline or different airlines?”
Coordinating your travel and credit card strategies with your spouse or family can take a lot of effort, but can pay off if you do it right. Nate and his wife travel a lot for work, and are wondering if it’s more worthwhile to choose the same airline program or diversify and choose two separate ones.
The situation generally requires more knowledge of their travel tendencies. Do they travel internationally? Are they going to the same places? Do they always go to one specific city? Depending on the answers, I would suggest simply going with the whatever airline is most convenient and efficient for you. Miles and points are great, but if you’re traveling a lot, you may want to choose their airline that gets you home to your loved ones quickly and easily. Basically, choose the airline that allows you to minimize your travel time in order to be home as much as possible.
If convenience isn’t an issue, I would recommend using the same loyalty program. That will make traveling together or taking a vacation easier, since you’ll both have miles with the same airline.
That being said, I also suggest diversifying your credit card strategy. One of you can focus on hotel points and the other on airline miles, or one of you can focus on fixed points and the other on transferable points. Having a game plan will help you cover an entire trip between your cumulative point balances. For example, one of you can use the fixed points from the BarclayCard Arrival to cover hotel and train tickets, and the other person can use miles for the plane tickets.
Another idea is to focus on the same airline program, but diversify hotel loyalty programs. For example, one of you could stay exclusively at Starwood on the road, while the other stays at Marriott.
In conclusion, my suggestion is to stick with the same airline program, and diversify hotel programs and credit cards. This way you can fly together when you travel and earn elite qualifying miles together. Companion upgrade perks aren’t great, and having a companion may drag you down when it comes to upgrades, so it’s better if you both have a higher status.
Maybe some of you out there have a different strategy, if so, feel free to share in the comments section below. As always, if you have additional questions, please message me on Facebook, tweet me @ThePointsGuy, or send me an email at email@example.com.
Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard®