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Travel Tips April 11, 2016

Locums Benefits 101: Getting the Most out of Travel Rewards Programs

Locum tenens assignments don't always involve travel — we often connect physicians, PAs, and NPs with assignments where they live. On the other hand, those physicians and practitioners who are willing to travel — and especially those who love to travel — often embrace the locum tenens lifestyle because it's a great way to explore every corner of the United States.

In addition to gaining valuable career experiences in a variety of locations and practice settings, spending several months helping the staff of a facility in a far-flung location is a great way to scratch the itch for adventure, as exemplified perhaps by Dr. Jose Carranza and his locum travels across California, Texas, and New York, among other destinations.

"Thanks to two locum tenens assignments in central California, I had the opportunity to eat at wonderful restaurants in Morro Bay and visit the Hearst Castle," Dr. Carranza told the Locums Link Blog. "When in upstate New York, my wife and I visited Canada often and spent three weekends in Ottawa and Montreal, Canada, where we were able to admire their religious art."

Read Dr. Carranza's story here, and check out more Locum Tales from the Road here.

And, as the healthcare industry continues to cope with a dramatic, and increasing, physician shortage, more and more opportunities are becoming available in less populated areas and states, presenting more opportunities for those locums workers willing to travel across state lines.

The Benefits Of Travel Rewards Programs For Locums Travelers

Whatever path may take as a locum tenens traveler, it's Staff Care's mission to make sure you get the most out of each assignment you take with us. That's why we take care of your initial travel arrangements and spring for your initial accommodations — and why we also encourage our locum tenens physicians and practitioners to join travel rewards programs.

Why join a travel rewards program when we're arranging most of your travel and springing for your plane tickets? Even though we're picking up most of the tab, you can still benefit from many of the special benefits offered by travel rewards programs, such as upgrades, discounts, and access to exclusive areas and meals not available to casual travelers.

Even better: When you join a travel rewards program, you can leverage the miles you fly or the nights you spend on your locum's assignments to build your own personal travel profile. In other words, the points and benefits you earn when you're traveling as a locum professional can be leveraged for upgrades and opportunities when it comes time to plan your own vacation.

With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the biggest benefits of travel rewards programs for locums travelers.

Travel Rewards Programs: Hotels

The benefits of joining hotel travel rewards programs are abundant, even for those who don't travel regularly.

  • You can earn free hotel nights, redeemable on assignment, or during personal travel.
  • You'll receive discounts at gift shops, restaurants, or other outlets.
  • You may receive room upgrades when you reach a certain status level.
  • Lounge access and/or free breakfast are often included.
  • They're completely free!

So, what hotel programs should you join? Join those which you prefer, of course — but also consider these major hotel chains, each of which is used regularly by the Staff Care travel booking team:

  • Marriott (Courtyard, Fairfield, Springhill Suites, Residence Inn, Towneplace Suites)
  • Hilton (Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Home2Suites, Homewood Suites, Hilton)
  • IHG (Candlewood, Staybridge, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Crowne Plaza, Hotel indigo)
  • Choice Hotels (Clarion Hotels, Clarion Suites, Comfort Inn/Comfort Inn & Suites, Comfort Suites, Econo Lodge, Mainstay Suites, Quality Inn/Hotel/Quality Inn & Suites, Rodeway Inn, Sleep Inn/Sleep Inn & Suites, Suburban Extended Stay Hotel)

How can you sign up for hotel travel rewards programs? Simply visit the hotel's website, where they'll encourage you to join their program, and make it clear how to do so. Once you're signed up, take note of your rewards number and make sure to present it when you check-in (or ask your Staff Care contact to do so on your behalf).

Another thing to note: Rewards points may be added at the hotel's discretion if a corporate discount is used.

Travel Rewards Programs: Airlines & Rental Cars

When it comes to booking airline travel, your Staff Care travel contact can add any rewards number to any flight itinerary. We're also able to book with all the major airlines, from the larger carriers like Delta, American, and United, to discount airlines like Southwest and Spirit.

The benefits are similar to the hotel rewards programs: You can use your airline miles for free flights, upgrades, cruises, vacation packages, and shopping. And once you've achieved a certain status with an airline, you'll often be eligible for free upgrades, free flight changes, free checked bags, priority boarding, the opportunity to earn miles faster, access to lounges, and priority seating, among even more benefits.

Regarding rental cars, we encourage our locum's travelers to join the rewards programs with Enterprise and National. And if you do so, let your Staff Care travel contact know! We must add the rewards number to the reservation at the time of booking. Rental car points can be used towards free rental days and free upgrades — again, a great benefit that can be leveraged during your own personal vacation time.

Got questions about how to join a specific travel rewards program, or wondering what rewards program may best accommodate your specific travel preferences? Contact your Staff Care recruiter to learn more. And if you're ready to travel, you can search all locum tenens jobs in your specialty here.

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