How Investing In Travel Stock Can Reap Travel Rewards

Sometimes as little as one share in travel stock can yield big travel rewards


While credit cards and loyalty programs are a great way of increasing purchasing power on the travel items you buy, there is another way to enhance travel rewards—buying stock in a company. In some cases, very little investment is needed to recoup much greater rewards—sometimes just one share.

For example, it currently costs around $35 to buy one registered share in Accor SA, Europe’s largest hotel chain, but that one share will immediately give you gold status in their loyalty program. That can translate to upgrades and late check outs that might otherwise take 30 nights of paid hotel stays to acquire. If you think you’ve never heard of Accor, they own Fairmont, Sofitel and Raffles—brands you might be more familiar with. As Bloomberg reports, these are places where it would be worth getting an upgrade, particularly if you’re planning on staying for more than a few days.

Intercontinental Hotels Group PLC also offers a similar program but it costs more to buy in—you need 100 shares to have a 20% discount on hotel rooms, and the shares are around $86. It might be worth it, however, if you spend a lot of time traveling.

The NH Hotel Group SA offers gold status for just one €4 share (around $5) offering free late checkout, double room upgrades and welcome gifts. You’d need to buy shares worth €2,000 for platinum status and another €1,000 worth for the highest, titanium status. However, this group is part of the Global Hotel Alliance meaning that large discounts could be had in the Anantara, the Leela, Kempinski and Viceroy chain of hotels. In a Maldives resort, one of these upgrades from a standard villa to a superior villa could amount to an upgrade worth almost $2,000 over a week-long holiday.

In Europe, Premier Inn can be found everywhere and is a common budget option—the company, part of the Whitbread group, offers free breakfast for anyone holding 64 shares. Likewise, the European vehicle rental company Sixt offers anywhere from a 10-20% discount to anyone that holds one share (currently trading at around $100).

Three cruise companies have programs where perks kick in if you hold 100 shares— Carnival Corp. (currently $15 per share), Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. ($17 per share) and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. ($122 per share). A lot of the time you need to go on repeated cruises and for a longer period of time, such as two weeks to recoup the cost, but it might be worth it if that’s something you do a lot of. These companies can offer up to $250 in onboard credits.

Among U.S. airlines, it is not that common to have travel rewards for shareholders although it is different for international carriers. Japan Airlines, for instance, offers 50% off vouchers for domestic flights when someone buys at least 100 stock shares. As you buy more stock, you earn more vouchers. The current share price is around $20.

It may be debatable if travel stock is a good investment—Bloomberg reports that US airline shares are underperforming the S&P 500—and in the coming years, climate change and fuel prices will weigh heavily. However, if you travel consistently, or are planning to spend a lot, possibly on that 2024 bucket-list adventure travel holiday, you could increase your travel rewards by investing.