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Tired of relying on frequent flier miles to ease travel costs?

Join the crowd. This year, two major carriers will begin rewarding customers based on the fare paid rather than the number of miles flown, joining a handful of airlines that have long based their loyalty programs on passenger spend. Add that to the growing restrictions already placed on using miles, and you’re left with business travelers seeking out new ways to maximize the ways to save on travel.

Brian Kelly, founder of The Points Guy (www.thepointsguy.com) says hotel loyalty points are a better bet, especially for frequent business travelers, if a bigger slice of their leisure trip pie is being devoted to their hotel stay rather than their airfare.

That’s because hotels are sweetening the deal with special rates extended only to loyalty program members. Travelers may find they can choose to have comped nights after a pre-set number of stays or by redeeming their loyalty points. In addition, travelers may have access to free wi-fi, complimentary wine, beer, and fruit and cheese in their rooms, late checkout times or access to an on-call concierge service.

They are even allowing members to trade their points for gift certificates, concert and event tickets, and, yes, even airline miles, while others are focusing on status as a selling point, offering no-fee upgrades after a handful of visits per calendar year.

“Versatility is the key with hotel points,” says Kelly. “Hotels have a ton of different redemption options. They are trying to really reinforce that loyalty, stay with us, stay with the big guys, and we will take care of you.”

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