For web workers, frequent flyer programs and other rewards programs can be a useful way to stretch tight travel budgets. During my recent cross-country trip, I was able to stay in several hotels at no cost, using points I had accumulated from credit cards.
But rewards programs have some gotchas. Some points expire when not used. It’s often difficult to tell which airlines honor each others’ miles. Hotel rewards can be confusing, since many different chains are co-owned and share the same program. Wyndham, for example, owns eleven different hotel chains!
AwardWallet is a new, free, advertising-supported service that helps you track your frequent flyer miles, as well as reward points from hotels, car rental companies and credit cards. It displays not only the points available, but also when they are due to expire. AwardWallet also features reviews of rewards programs written by members.
Once set up, AwardWallet supposedly updates your point totals automatically, although I found that the service wasn’t able to log in consistently to several of the programs I belong to.
In order to collect data from the various rewards programs, AwardWallet needs login information for these programs’ websites. You have the choice of storing login data with AwardWallet.com, or directly on your computer. Since credit card websites include lots of sensitive data, and even airline programs often include information like passport numbers, it’s probably preferable to store logins locally. AwardWallet’s privacy and security statement isn’t very detailed, so you’ll need to decide how you wish to use the service.
AwardWallet is monetizing its service with short ads that appear while logins are taking place. In addition, you can upgrade to AwardWallet Plus on a “pay what you wish” basis, or by inviting others to join. Upgraded members get some additional perks, like being able to download data to a spreadsheet.
All in all, AwardWallet seems like a good idea. It’s certainly handy to see your rewards totals and expiration dates in one place. Once the service improves its ability to acquire data from rewards program sites, it will be a useful tool for web workers.
How do you track frequent flyer miles?
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