This post was originally published on GeneMarks.com.
I do speaking gigs between 40 and 60 times a year, which means I travel a lot. We all know that traveling can be expensive. I know a lot of people who spend time looking for deals, booking airfares in the middle of the night or comparing the prices on dozens of travel websites. Those tactics may work sometimes. But there's really just one secret I've learned that will save you money over the long run: it's being loyal.
I'm a loyal traveler. I primarily use just one airline, one hotel chain and one rental car agency. Sometimes this doesn’t always mean the lowest price. But for me, it’s not about getting the cheapest airfare or hotel room because I’ve learned from other smart travelers that the price that’s paid up front isn't the only – or most important - component of a traveler’s cost. Time is the biggest and most expensive factor and the more loyal you are, the more time you save and the more perks you accumulate.
For example, I'm a member of National Car Rental's Emerald Club. There's no cost to join and the benefits over the long term are significant. Of course, National Car Rental’s rates are competitive. But that's just the beginning. I book on the mobile app and when I arrive at an airport my car is always waiting. I've received updates on my smartphone the entire time. I drive away within minutes. When I return from my trip, I just drop the car off and go. I am not waiting in line, answering questions or filling out paperwork. I'm just on my way and I am saving time.