8 Perks Frequent Travelers Can Give Mom for Mother’s Day

May 9, 2017

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – Citi Prestige Card, The Platinum Card® from American Express

When it comes to Mother’s Day for the frequent traveler, there are always great shopping portal deals available if you choose to go the traditional flower route — you can earn as much as 10 points or miles per dollar, or even save 20% at 1-800 Flowers by using promo code TPG20. For those who want to think outside the box and give mom an experience she’ll never forget, consider giving her one of these eight cool travel perks this year.

1. Free Flights and Hotels

Let’s start with the most obvious TPG strategy to make mom feel appreciated and spoiled. Whether it’s a plane seat for her to come and see you and the grandkids or a ticket for you to come home for a visit, free travel is the tool that allows mom to get what she really wants: more time with you. You can book flights for other members of your family with virtually every airline loyalty program, however some carriers may require a little extra effort to reserve her seat — Korean Air and Asiana Airlines, for instance, require you to fill out and fax in an application form along with proof of your relationship before a family member can be added to use your miles.

Hotel rooms can be a little tricker to book for mom. Using your points for someone other than yourself is often not clearly defined as being allowed — or disallowed — in a hotel program’s terms and conditions. I’ve often booked a room with my points, added a family member as an authorized guest and faxed in a credit card authorization form to the property so my family member can check in without me.

No mom is going to complain when presented with a free ticket to come and visit you.
No mom is going to complain when presented with a free ticket to come and visit you.

2. Hyatt Guest of Honor

The World of Hyatt program not only specifically allows you to use your points to book award nights for friends and family, but if you’re a top-tier Globalist member, guests staying on your points can also receive your Globalist perks via the Guest of Honor benefit. Use between 5,000 and 30,000 points for a free night at any Hyatt worldwide and treat mom to breakfast, lounge access and an upgrade to a standard suite (based on availability). This has got to be one of my favorite benefits of Globalist membership.

3. First/Business-Class Amenity Kits

After coming home from dozens of first- and business-class flights with fancy amenity kits in hand, I’ve learned that friends and family — including many of the women in my life — really enjoy these cases of convenience. Many of come with brand-name products and bags from well-known designers. Plus, having guests come to visit and find pajamas and amenity kits on their beds has been a fantastic touch to our at-home hospitality credit. Make sure you set aside a few of your nicest ones for when mom comes to visit.

Guest in our house get airline amenity kits, like this First Class kit from All Nippon Airways.
Guests in our house get airline amenity kits, like this first-class one from All Nippon Airways.

4. Airport Lounge Access

The TPG team routinely covers the convenience and relaxation airport lounges provide. If you want to share the respite from airport mayhem with your mother, there’s an easy way to do it. Making your mom an authorized user on select credit cards will allow her to spend time unwinding in lounges on her next trip, even if she’s traveling without you. Authorized users of The Platinum Card from American Express (and all varieties of it), the Citi Prestige Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard and the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Card will all be eligible to access Priority Pass, Admirals Club and/or Centurion lounges depending on which card you add them to. Note that the Citi Prestige’s Admirals Club perk will expire on July 23, 2017.

5. Upgrade Her Flight

If you hold mid- to top-tier elite status with any of the three legacy carriers, you may have an easy avenue to upgrade your mom on her next flight. American systemwide upgrades and 500-mile certificates, United Global and Regional Premier Upgrades and Delta Global and Regional Upgrade Certificates can be used on almost any paid flight. If you’re traveling with your mom, you could always ask if cash upgrades are available at check-in and use your credit card’s annual travel credit to offset any out-of-pocket expenses to put her in the next-highest class.

Row 20-21 are both exit rows, providing a bit more legroom but a fixed armrest.
Give mom a little more comfort on her next flight, even if it’s just a domestic hop.

6. Global Entry

If your mom is an international traveler, a Global Entry card should be in her wallet so she can enjoy expedited customs clearance when she returns to the US. Multiple credit cards now come with a $100 statement credit to cover the Global Entry application fee, and they don’t have to be used in the cardholder’s name. Register your mom for a GOES account and pay her $100 fee with one of your credit cards that offers a statement credit.

7. Free Golf

If your mom likes to tee it up and you hold a Citi Prestige Card, for a few more months you can take advantage of the three annual free rounds of golf and book her time at any of the hundreds of participating courses around the world — I’ve got my eyes set on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, host of the The Players Championship. With greens fees costing upwards of $400, getting that round of golf for free would impress any sporting mother.

Get a free $400 round of golf at TPC Sawgrass courtesy of the Citi Prestige Card. Image courtesy of Getty Images.
Get a free $400 round of golf at TPC Sawgrass courtesy of the Citi Prestige Card. Image courtesy of Chris Condon via Getty Images.

8. SPG Moments

TPG’s own favorite use of points was an SPG Moment redemption that got his dad and him VIP tickets to a New York Knicks game. Redeem your Starpoints for a culinary, music, culture or sport experience that affords you exclusive access. Many auctions go for a surprisingly reasonable amount of points, and a few are even fixed-price. Have a private dinner with your mom at Daniel in New York City or snag premium seats to see Elton John live.

Bottom Line

There certainly isn’t anything wrong with making your mom and yourself happy via shopping portal bonuses for flowers or chocolates. This year, though, it could be worth going a little bit farther to show her how your points and miles hobby can bring the two of you closer together. Your mom’s sure to be thankful, and the text messages you’ll receive with pictures of her in a Hyatt lounge eating breakfast or cozying up with a blanket in a business-class seat will make the points expended well worth it.

Featured image courtesy of Martin Novak via Getty Images. 

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