Treat me otherwise—you have competition.” As Joel L. Widzer expresses in his travel guide, The Penny Pincher’s Passport to Luxury Travel, anyone can indulge in a lifestyle of luxury with the right attitude and approach. Outlining several elements of travel: destinations, airlines, hotels, credit cards, tipping, Widzer shows how being a loyal customer, working cooperatively, and creating alliances with the finest travel companies can make all the difference when it comes to the quality of travel.“Provide me with good service—I’m a loyal customer.
Many travelers take advantage of incentive programs such as frequent flyer miles, frequent buyer or dining cards, all of which offer benefits for loyal customers over time. As Widzer remarks, loyal customers add value to travel providers and in turn, they achieve their own level of elite status. Travelers should seek airlines who need their business, rather than the ones who have the highest number of frequent flyer miles to offer. Once a traveler has received their elite status through continued loyalty, it’s easy to be upgraded to first class. As Widzer explains, preferred service is based on the value you bring to the airline. Adding to the value is a positive attitude and feedback, also entailing befriending gate agents and writing letters of appreciation to the airline when preferential treatment is received.
In order to bathe in luxury for less, one must properly choose his/her location and be flexible. Widzer recommends traveling to particular destinations in the off-season or to areas with situational uncertainty (economic depression/ political upheaval, etc). Despite the safety hazards that may be present in such areas that are perceived to be ‘troubled,’ Widzer reminds the reader that when it comes to travel, “trend is not your friend.”
Following the same theme of loyalty as with airline travel, Widzer discusses the ways to upgrade hotel services by joining frequent guest programs, booking during off-season times of low-occupancy, and having the right attitude. After researching hotel rates and receiving any available discounts through programs such as AAA, AARP, and other frequent flyer programs, Widzer suggests making friends with the hotel personnel to receive preferential treatment, while giving constant positive feedback and expressing gratitude. Widzer also explained that getting in the habit of luxury by looking and acting the part, along with one believing they deserve the best is a key attitude in achieving such.