Earning rewards, points, and incentives for travels is an easy way to take advantage of something that you're already doing for your career. Whether you're a business owner traveling with your team, entrepreneur, or need a holiday, traveling can be an opportunity to build points and miles to earn future bonuses and perks. But I've learned that not all rewards programs are created equally.

There are programs for different aspects of travel. Whether by train, plane, or automobile, there are ways to save. While a number of programs are now being linked to credit cards, there are still incentives for you if you don't have a specific card. Here are some of the best ways to earn while you work.

1. Car rental rewards

Enterprise and Hertz both have Plus Rewards programs that will get you perks such as free rentals and no blackout dates. Points won't expire either, as long as you remain an active member. Hertz also allows you to use your points for miles with their partner programs.

Vehicle related rewards aren't limited to rentals. For instance, if you use certain parking apps, such as The Parking Spot, you can earn rewards such as free parking for being a loyal user. Additionally, if you're a credit card holder, your parking purchase may qualify for extra points.     

2. Rewards for flights

Frequent flyer miles are probably the most popular rewards program that comes to mind when thinking of flight rewards. However, many of those miles are earned through credit purchases. Depending on your card's terms and conditions, you may be able to accumulate points for seat upgrades, faster check-in times, and luggage allowances simply through spending.

It should be noted that airports now also offer rewards for using their facilities. London Heathrow airport, for instance, allows you to earn points for every pound you spend that can be used for discounts on trains and transportation. Airports in the USA are catching on by offering rewards for parking and dining. Apps like Thanks Again let you earn points to be used for miles, TSA Pre-check, and even cashback.

3. Lodging rewards

The Marriott Rewards, World of Hyatt, and Hilton Honors all continue to be some of the top programs due to their value, availability, and benefits. They also have brand and name recognition behind them, allowing them to team up with other services to get you better perks. Hotel programs such as GHA Discovery Rewards, offer location based experiences such as complimentary brewery tours and wine tastings on your next visit.   

But it's not just hotels involved in loyalty programs. Airbnb recently announced a program, Superguest, for highly rated travelers that will be available later this year. They also reward hosts for their excellent ratings.

Many smaller inns also offer some type of loyalty program. I like to stay at a lovely B&B when I'm in northern Scotland. My loyalty has earned me free breakfast, my choice of room with a fireplace, and new friends.   

4. Train rewards

Trains are wonderful ways to travel. There is often less stress, the stations are centrally located, and there isn't as much of a limit on luggage as there is on a flight. They are often business friendly, with WiFi, outlets, and personal desks available. Plus, you can enjoy a scenic view of the region.

Amtrak, has a rewards program that earns you points each time you use their services. You get 500 points for signing up and booking travel within 90 days. If you get 800 points, you'll earn free travel and discounts on partner programs. Personally, I love train travel, particularly around Europe.

5. Booking sites

Sites like booking.com and expedia.com offer discounts and even free stays once you've used their site a number of times. These sites are great because you can get great deals while still keeping your itinerary on track. You can stay at that amazing villa or those modern apartments in the heart of Barcelona and still get rewarded.

There are many options when choosing how to travel, therefore rewards programs are great ways for companies to maintain loyalty to their services. Choose what best fits your needs overall and then plan to use it frequently or as often as possible. And if you aren't sure about their loyalty program, ask.

Published on: Feb 28, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.