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Saturday was my 25th stay this year with Hyatt.

As a 100% leisure traveler there’s a price to loyalty.   Staying 25 nights out of 54 days at a hotel represents a huge investment of time and money.

The thousands of dollars it cost to retain Hyatt Diamond status could have been spent on several amazing vacations with the family or spent on mileage runs to further ensure airline loyalty. Or even, spent on something other than travel.  What? You mean there are other things in life than travel?  Sacrilege, I know!  Perish the thought.

But as I’ve explained to my family and friends (who don’t share my miles and points addiction hobby), there’s a method to my madness.

It’s about loyalty.  More specifically, for many frequent flyer miles and points collectors it’s about the benefits of being loyal to a hotel chain, airline, or car rental company.  The perks and benefits such as free first class upgrades, suite upgrades, and free breakfast.

Loyalty can make or break a company. It’s less expensive to keep a customer than to find a new one. Companies offer incentives to stay loyal: from double elite qualifying miles (still waiting for American to announce a 2013 DEQM offer, given the American Airlines and US Airways merger announcement I’m not holding my breath), additional bonus points per night stay, to free day rentals.  Anything to keep existing customers.

Frequent flyer miles and points collectors understand and know how to exploit efficiently use the benefits that come from loyalty.

For me it’s not just about the loyalty benefits I receive (I admit those first class upgrades are a big draw to always fly my airline carrier), it’s about a relationship.

This year I chose Hyatt for my hotel program.  The simple explanation: they sponsored the SMD4 and gave attendees Diamond status for four months.  The wonderful treatment we received at each hotel along with the four suite upgrades sealed the deal.

Are you loyal to an airline, hotel or car rental company?  How do you decide which loyalty program to focus on?

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for beginning travel hackers. It is the first card you should get to start traveling for free because the welcome offer is 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months.  
My favorite perks about this card are earning 5X points on travel when booked through the Chase portal (2X if direct purchase), 3X points on dining , $50 yearly credit on hotels booked through the Chase portal, no foreign transaction fees, and transferring points to 13 airline and hotel partners like Hyatt, United, and Southwest.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of my favorite cards for earning cash back card and travel rewards. It offers a welcome offer of 3% cash back = an extra 1.5% cash back on up to $20,000 in purchases your first year.
My favorite perks about this card are earning 6.5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal , 4.5% cash back at drugstores and restaurants, unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and no annual fee. When paired with cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, you can use your points to travel for free.

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