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Membership Cards - Do you need them?

Membership Cards - Do you need them?

Old Aug 17, 14, 7:58 pm
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Membership Cards - Do you need them?

I have membership cards, not credit cards, for most of the airline and hotel rewards programs that I am a member of. So far in my years of traveling I have not had to present them, but I have not been very high in the programs in the past either. Has anyone ever had to present these? What actual use are the cards?
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Old Aug 17, 14, 10:49 pm
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They can be handy with systems down, or when dealing with partners. The priority phone numbers come in handy, especially if your phone is dead.
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Old Aug 18, 14, 12:05 am
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They are also useful in some overseas hotels that have the first generation of 'insert room key card here to turn on heat or air conditioning' systems that just require a plastic card of the right size and shape into the slot and aren't looking for the chip in the room key. Used an old MLife card for that in a couple of European hotels earlier in the year.
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Old Aug 18, 14, 4:12 am
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Access to airport lounge agents often require the physical card to be presented, especially if you try to enter a contract lounge or lounge operated by a different carrier like using the LH lounge as UA*Gold.
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Old Aug 18, 14, 7:54 am
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It really depends, in my experience.

I almost never need my BA card, except when going into Admirals Clubs, for example, or some other contract lounges that BA uses. My AC card is asked for a lot more, despite all the relevant information being included on the BP.

With hotel cards it's also hit-and-miss. When I show my Sofitel platinum card, I'm always told that it's already in the system, same with SPG. Hyatt is a bit more of a mixed bag, and I usually have to remind them of my status.
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Old Aug 18, 14, 2:09 pm
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You really only need them if you got good status and you need to get into a lounge or something or if you can't remember you card number...
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Old Aug 18, 14, 8:43 pm
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Originally Posted by fassy View Post
Access to airport lounge agents often require the physical card to be presented, especially if you try to enter a contract lounge or lounge operated by a different carrier like using the LH lounge as UA*Gold.
This has been my experience as well, traveling frequently over the past 10 years. Airlines, hotels, and car rental companies all have their own systems computerized well. They usually capture your member number when you book your reservation. If they don't, or you didn't enter it correctly, it's easy for them to look it up via their computer terminal. I carry the cards for two reasons: First, to remind myself in case the datafile or computer I store them in electronically fails; Second, to gain entry to partner lounges where the employees running the lounge do not have computer access to your membership records (because they belong to a different company).
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Old Aug 18, 14, 9:18 pm
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There are actually two separate questions IMHO:

1. Do you need to present the actual membership card?

2. Do you need the info on the membership card?

If it's only 2, then I guess you could scan the front and back and put it somewhere where you can always access it (even if there is no cellphone connection and no internet connection, or they're a pain to use, at that moment). Or make a dual-sided photocopy and keep that in your wallet instead, to save space.

But even though I rarely need to present them, I find it easier to keep them rather than just scan them. Very rarely I may need to present one somewhere, but it's too hard trying to forecast which one when. So it seems simplest just to keep them.

Now, whether to keep the all on you at all times, or keep some on you and others at home, that's a separate question. Certainly if you're traveling somewhere where airline X doesn't fly and where there's no program Y hotels, there's probably no need to take airline X's card or hotel program Y's card with you there.

Btw, since I have credit cards from so many of these hotel programs, I have the same per-trip "pruning" process to figure out: Which hotel credit cards do I need, and which don't I need, on this trip?
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