From vacations with friends and extended family to the occasional school trip, we often find ourselves traveling in larger groups. While group trips can be an absolute blast, there’s always a moment when we find ourselves questioning whether or not it’s worth the effort. From getting everyone to agree on dates, to purchasing flights, to booking hotel rooms and arranging transportation, there’s a lot to keep track of.

But there is a silver lining! Group travel also means more opportunities to earn points and miles in your favourite programs. Here are some helpful tricks we’ve learned for getting the most out of our hotel and airline loyalty programs while traveling with groups. 

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Offer to book travel on your card

Once we select a destination and figure out the timing for a group vacation, we are quick to volunteer our rewards credit cards to book flights and hotel rooms. After we pay up front, our travel companions can reimburse us via a money transfer app or another way of their choosing. By offering to pick up the tab, we can earn valuable points and miles  – which can lead to upgrades, free flights, discounted hotel rooms and other perks. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers double points for any travel spending and triple points for airfare purchased directly through airlines. And Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve cardholders receive 10 HHonors points for every dollar spent on Hilton hotels and 5 points for each dollar spent on airline and car rental purchases.

Booking together also helps us make sure we have adjoining seats on the flight and rooms at the hotel, rather than being split up. Or, it can come in handy if you need a break from the group by upgrading your seats for more space…and silence!

In addition to booking the flights and hotel rooms, we also pick up the tab for necessities along the way  – and figure out who owes what at the end of the trip. Using our Wells Fargo Rewards Visa Card means we can earn extra points and miles when we offer to pick up groceries or gas.

Refer family and friends

Some of our friends and relatives don’t travel nearly as frequently as us, so they haven’t thought to sign up for hotel and airline rewards credit cards. So when traveling in a group, we always encourage our fellow travelers to sign up for loyalty programs. In many cases, they’re mutually beneficial  – our friends and family earn points, miles and bonuses for signing up and we get rewarded for referring new members.  

Take the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express, for example. Cardholders can earn up to 5,000 Starpoints for each approved referral, up to 55,000 each year. The monetary value for 5,000 Starpoints is about $125 per year, meaning you can earn up to $1,375 in annual Starpoints for referrals alone! Each new signup also receives 25,000 bonus Starpoints when they make $3,000 in purchases during the first three months. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card offers 5,000 Southwest points per referral and 40,000 bonus points when new cardholders spend $1,000 in the first three months. These referral and sign up bonuses can help you, your family and friends be well on your way to your next upgrade, free flight or hotel stay, or another reward of your choice.

While traveling with a group can be hectic, it also has its benefits when it comes to earning points and miles. Make sure you take full advantage of the opportunity to grow your balances.