As a locum tenens traveler, it really pays to take the time to sign up for and use frequent flyer, preferred guest, and all those other programs that give you perks in return for your loyalty. It’s easy, it’s generally free, you can usually do it on-line, and you only have to keep track of the numbers long enough to get them to your friendly VISTA Staffing Solutions travel agent. We will add them to your travel profile, which includes your preferences, special needs, and such, and enter them whenever you book travel and housing for a locum tenens assignment.
Even if your locums travels take you to vastly different places on different airlines and to different hotels, the points can add up. For example, Delta, Northwest, and Continental honor each other’s frequent flyer point programs. United and US Air have a similar arrangement, as do Alaska Air/Delta and Alaska Air/American.
When and how you use your points is, of course, entirely up to you. Even though you earn them on tickets paid for by locum tenens clients, you are entitled to the benefits. Our team suggests that you save upgrades for a flight that’s three hours or longer—almost anyone can survive a short haul in coach. Timing is also an important consideration, and an upgrade might make a packed end-of-the-business week flight much more comfortable if you are able to get it.
Check the websites of the airlines you fly for on-line applications and rules and restrictions for using your points. There is no question the travel industry is becoming less generous in this respect, but there are still benefits to be had.
And don’t forget to sign up for preferred traveler programs at the hotels you frequent. Your points may entitle you an upgrade or a free stay when a friend or family members decides to join you for all or part of a temporary medical assignment. Always ask hotels if they honor airline frequent flyers programs too—most of them do.
One final note—find a little pocket in your carry-on bag and get in the habit of stashing your boarding passes there. When you get your frequent flyer program statements, verify that you were credited for all the segments of your journey. If you were not, only the boarding pass can convince the airline to add the points for a segment to your account. Happy traveling!