Membership cards changed my life. Literally.

Now, if you’re reading this thinking something like; “Girl, give me a break, how is a plastic card able to change my life? I can’t even cash money in!”, then I’ll have to stop you right there. Because dear, a member’s card will pay for your next trip – And I’m pretty sure that if the deal was travel benefits or cash, most people would choose the latter.

First things first though.

Do you like traveling? Then, you should start your new collection.


Apart from collecting experiences, new tastes and ideas, you’re collecting points and/or miles on your trips. Points from your hotel overnights or airfares. My sweet spot for bonuses doesn’t go any further than hotel and airline cards – just because these two have set the stakes so high for me.

Do you remember  the film “Up in the air”? No, not how charming George Clooney was – let’s stick to the blog post’s main subject. Do you remember George Clooney’s frenzy upon collecting miles and points when traveling? The way he passed one of his many membership cards to the girl sitting in the front desk, with a look of absolute content I mean.

Some of my travelous cards!

Because dear hopper, when you’re traveling, there is nothing that can offer more satisfaction than enjoying the privileges and comforts of being a club member.


Star Alliance; Gold Member


    Being a Gold Card holder means I can travel with an additional suitcase than the one permitted  by the airline, plus, I can book a GoLight ticket (a cheaper ticket allowing only hand baggage on board) and thanks to my Gold card I am entitled to 1 piece of baggage up to 20kg.
    Business & First Class desk check in. Estimated time of waiting? No more than 5 minutes.
    Meaning, I can grab my bag and go as it is first in line when the plane is unloading.
    Fast lane my dear; I pass through security check using the Business and First Class passengers’ lane. Compared to the Economy Class lane – well, let’s not make that comparison. Simply because at busy airports, such as Heathrow or Frankfurt, the estimated time of waiting increases significantly.
    The hours I spent at the airport used to be pretty exhausting up until the minute the Business Lounge came into my life. There, I get access to free wifi (unlimited time, not a 30 or 60-minutes session), free meal (regular one, not just a sandwich or airport food), water (say goodbye to overpriced bottles of water throughout Europe) and most of all, I get to enjoy some minutes of peace and tranquility before leaving for my next destination. Priceless.
    No more standing at the air bridge for 20 minutes or so, as I can board along with the Business Class passengers and get to seat before everyone else.
    When a flight is overbooked, some of the passengers are lucky enough to get a seat upgrade – from Economy to Business Class. Guess who that is. That’s right, a bonus card owner like me. I don’t only have the privileges of a Business Class passenger,  I get to fly like one too.

My little office in the Business lounge at Basel Airport



Gold Member; Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, IHG


    A miracle called Elite Members Lane and means only one thing; Skip the line! A valuable comfort to have if most of the times you arrive at the hotel completely exhausted – like myself.
  • Wifi
    Yeah okay, most hotels nowadays offer free wifi. But it’s not always completely free, as chain hotels may charge you for using wireless internet – from 10 to 20 euros per day. When you’re a Silver or Gold Member though, you’ll have unlimited free wifi to as many devices you want.
    Nothing new here, just the same old “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” kind of thing. Especially when you’re traveling. I can’t count the times I’ve only had a full hotel breakfast and skipped lunch, only to have dinner at the end of the day.
    The business lounge of a hotel offers pretty much the same things as the one at the airport; free meals, drinks and private access using a special card. Business means pleasure after all.
    Often, hotels in association with private – or even public – transportation offer their Silver or Gold members a free pass to use around town. I was given on in Geneva for instance.
    When you’re half-way across the world between total strangers, even the simplest “Hello Mrs Kalymnou and welcome back” feels like home, my dear reader!
    I saved the best for last; Free overnights! I get the chance to enjoy free nights at hotels around the world just by collecting points. I usually pay for 2 nights and use my points to get 2 more nights for free so I can keep a low total budget. Especially in parts of Asia where accommodation is cheap, I already have 7 free nights in Thailand just by collecting a minimum amount of points. Pretty wow, right?

Enjoying a Heineken beer at Hilton’s Business Lounge in Sofia

When you’re a frequent traveler like me, collecting points becomes a fantastic habit.

I started my “collection” a few years ago and since then I used them up and collected some more. In the meantime, my life as a traveler became easier and a hundred times more comfortable. Even if you don’t travel as much and you’re thinking that this is point-less, let me disagree. See it as a game – the more you travel and collect points, the more you win.

It’s such an addicting game that in the end of the day, you’ll find yourself feeling like George and I; a bit of a gambler, a bit of elite. It’s part of the companies’ tactics after all – they wanna make you feel special and trust me, they’re great at it. You do feel special. 

Low budget travelers, backpackers, luxury or average budget travelers – whatever category you’re into, loyalty gets rewarded – make the most of it!


So tell me, in which category are you in?
Are you a point-maniac like me?



Maria Kalymnou

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