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There’s a fun little email trick I use all the time, especially when it comes to signing up for new loyalty accounts, making reservations and other travel-related tasks. Essentially, I use a long-standing Gmail feature to create an instant alias — a vanity email address that funnels messages into one main account.

But as essential as it’s become in my own life, I constantly encounter friends, family members and colleagues who seem flabbergasted when I explain it, as someone once did for me nearly a decade ago.

Now that I’ve sufficiently built this up, it’s dead-simple to put into practice — simply add a “+” followed by whatever you like, between your Gmail username and @gmail.com. So zach+textgoeshere@gmail.com directs emails to the exact same box as zach@gmail.com. On any site you’re registering for an account, though, zach+textgoeshere@gmail.com registers as an entirely different address — you aren’t flagged as a duplicate and don’t have to manage multiple totally separate email accounts.

There are countless occasions that travelers may benefit from an alternate email address, but I’ll name a few:

  • Registering children for loyalty programs, Global Entry and TSA PreCheck (zach+john@gmail.com)
  • Booking tours for a certain trip (zach+italy@gmail.com)
  • Signing into Wi-Fi (or use a fake address, like abc@123.com)
(Photo by Andrea Bacle Photography)
Register your little ones without having to create a new email account. Photo by Andrea Bacle Photography.

I’ve also used this trick to create loyalty program accounts for reluctant family members, if I can tell they won’t do it on their own. A frequent United flyer taking a rare American flight, for example — zach+dad@gmail.com, and voila, dad has his own account, and I’m getting his program-related emails.

But wait — there’s more! You can easily create filters based on these addresses. zach+john goes into a folder for little John’s emails, while emails sent to zach+italy get a special flag during the weeks leading up to my trip. Then, when I get back, I can change the settings to immediately mark those emails as read, or to keep them out of my main feed, so any post-trip promos and follow-ups don’t clog up my inbox.

You can also “create” different addresses by adding and removing dots. zach@gmail.com, za.ch@gmail.com and z.a.c.h@gmail.com may appear unique when you’re required to register with an email address, but messages to any of the above all go to the same place — while Gmail essentially ignores the “+” and anything that comes after it, you’ll get similar treatment when you add or remove a dot.

Featured image of TPG Family’s Summer Hull by Andrea Bacle Photography.

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Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
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Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
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Recommended Credit
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.