Do I need to travel with loyalty card?

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by tokomu, Mar 25, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. tokomu

    tokomu Active Member

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    Hi Everyone, I'm accumulating a lot of air line, rental car and hotel loyalty cards but so far I never needed to show these cards to anyone. Do any of you travel with these cards?
    Thank you
     
  2. bigx0

    bigx0 Gold Member

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    Some people say you often are required to show your Elite status airline card to get into foreign lounges. I travel primarily domestically and have never needed to show any sort of loyalty card for hotels nor airlines.
     
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  3. thepointstraveler

    thepointstraveler Silver Member

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    I don't think I have ever brought any of my loyalty cards with me. I've never run into an instance where I would have needed one. If you have already made your reservations prior, then your loyalty numbers should be tied to those reservations. Even if you had to make a reservation on the spot, they should be able to look it up for you.
     
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  4. SM105

    SM105 Silver Member

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    There are many parts of the world where waving a shiny piece of plastic is the only way to get the benefits due to you. Being able to "look it up" only works when the computer systems are working, or the electricity at the airport isn't off, or (my favourite) they have run out of paper for the printers so they have to hand write your "boarding pass" on the back of a receipt from the snack bar.
     
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  5. thepointstraveler

    thepointstraveler Silver Member

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    Good point, no computers, no dice. I guess it never hurts to be safe rather than sorry.
     
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  6. tokomu

    tokomu Active Member

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    Thanks, sounds like I don't need these cards as long as I'm traveling domestically and without status:)
     
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  7. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Without status, one can travel internationally without ever worrying about a loyalty card. :) However, even with status only a few over-zealous agents would give one a hard time -- there are threads discussing, e.g., international airport lounge access without an airline elite card. My experience is that with a passport and same-day travel boarding pass that shows status, one should be ok, except for the rare occasions when there might be an over-zealous agent at the door.
     
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  8. newbluesea
    Original Member

    newbluesea Gold Member

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    You are required in most instances to show your OW status card to enter the BA lounges ( LHR is seems to be the most stringent) and members have been refused despite whats printed on their broarding card becuase of the confusion due to different corrresponding tier levels iin the various airlines programs.
     
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  9. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    I always have mine in my wallet, they never make the journey out!
     
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  10. jmjgp12

    jmjgp12 Silver Member

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    I have always taken a just carry it in case approach - never had to actually show it including with some OW lounges but one never knows what agent will want to swipe it to verify status - Also with AA these days if you use the iPhone the Passbook Mobile Elite Card works great and saves time!
     
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  11. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Then there is Star Alliance (*A) in which only 2 elite status levels - silver (*S) and gold (*G) - are recognized alliance-wide and uniformly determine benefits like int'l lounge access, priority boarding, waived baggage fee. The passport identifies one as the legitimate traveler and "carrier*G" (e.g, UA*G) printed on the BP, which is increasingly scanned, automatically identifies the traveler as someone who has *G benefits, including lounge access. There have been reports claiming denial of *A lounge access without a *G card at FRA. However, I purposely tested the claim and reported the result in a thread here: claim could not be verified. Passport + BP = access, unless a rare over-zealous "dragon" is manning the door; even then, a supervisor could quickly fix things because the info is computerized and alliance-wide....

    If one has the card, however, why not just carry it along?
     
  12. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    The cards have a one-way ticket into the wallet:D
     
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  13. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    I don't carry any non elite cards but I do bring the numbers. Award wallet, IHG and a few others offer the custom cards where you can add many of your numbers to the back. Also phone photos of your cards could be an option.

    I would wonder if there are lounges that would grant access to someone with an elite looking card, like an ANA silver looking card that has the star alliance logo even though its not silver, etc. ?
     
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  14. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    There are so many ways to document one's elite status "on the fly" these days that to require proof based on a card that could easily be a forgery no longer makes sense.
    The answer is no, and this goes to what I just wrote up there. One can present a legit looking card but will be denied access if it is invalid or a forgery, because the BP will be scanned to confirm the legitimacy of the elite status and, hence, of the card! The BP is thus the authoritative document, whose own legitimacy is backed by and can be verified by an even more authoritative document: one's passport.
     
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  15. SM105

    SM105 Silver Member

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    You have far too much faith in a system that usually doesn't work. I'd guess that my status doesn't show up on at least 50% of my flights on partner airlines, and about 75% of partner flights require me to retro-claim the miles as well. I always carry my important cards and have never regretted it.
     
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  16. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I see posts to that effect but I have never had an issue there, nor anywhere else. Sadly, the status won't provide access to The Concorde Room unless you've a FC Boarding Pass on BA, IME. The FC lounges are fine, just no private rooms and table service.
     
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  17. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I have just enough faith in a system which, while not perfect, has failed me only rarely...but you are speaking about "system" as if it were the same across the board. Your "system" may not be the same as mine, which has worked for me, hence my measured faith in it. It sounds to me like there is a bigger problem in your "system" for which, IME, just carrying cards around is not a good solution.
     
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  18. bigx0

    bigx0 Gold Member

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    The best way to be sure you won't need to show it is to take it with you. Since the day you decide to leave it at home is the day you'll be asked to show it, the solution is simple!
     
  19. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    By all means an easy solution, if one has the cards, but for years I did not have any loyalty cards, either because I'd misplaced/lost them and never bothered to ask for replacements, or a loyalty program did not send a card (Hilton Honors). Because I never ran into trouble back then when I never carried cards, and now with the ubiquity of ways to quickly access loyalty information 24/7 anywhere, my position is that the chance of being denied a loyalty benefit for lack of a card in this day and age is not something I would be concerned about before a trip because (a) few, if any, loyalty programs ask to see the card and (b) it is quite easy to prove one's status, 24/7...

    ...but, if one has the cards, well, just take them along. These days I do take all my loyalty cards on the road with me, since I bought a nice card organizer into which I put a new loyalty card as soon as it arrives. I have not had much use for any of them, however.
     
  20. webdes03

    webdes03 Gold Member

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    I have never traveled with any of mine until recently...

    There are certainly stories of people being required to show loyalty cards for entrance into foreign lounges. I also discovered a couple weeks ago at a Westin that SPG requires you show your card for the 20% discount at certain restaurants. The sundial at the top of the Westin in Atlanta offers a 20% discount for SPG members, but you must display the physical card to get the discount. Apparently there's quite a few SPG properties that offer discounts at the restaurants, I didn't know that until recently. That said, the front desk offered me a temporary card at check-in when they told me about the discount.
     
  21. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    I think that published program benefits (i.e., in T&C) should be distinguished from transient or local promos...I can see how a restaurant might want proof that one is a SPG member since anyone could go or be there just to eat...

    Conrad Hong Kong offered HH points in their restaurant for a spend of ~US$50 or more when I was there over the year-end holiday, but they just asked for my room number, and I did get the points...
     
  22. dayone
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    dayone Silver Member

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    It's been years since I've needed any of my elite cards domestically. Even internationally, it's been a while. My BP was sufficient for BA my last two LHR lounge visits.
     
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  23. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    I think you need the National Exec card (Thanks MP Premium) to show the gate agent when you drive out ... but I might mistaken. I always give them that card + credit + DL
     
  24. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    This correct for for just asbout all Emerald Club rentals.
     
  25. mattsteg
    Original Member

    mattsteg Gold Member

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    No, you do not need to show any card other than your drivers license.
     

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