As a stay-at-home mom of 4 children ages 6 and under, I find a certain value that is unmatched when it comes to time to myself. It is cherished, priceless, and rare all at the same time.  So when the occasion arose to travel out of state by myself for a day, I jumped in with both feet and a grin on my face! Imagine, flying above the clouds with not a worry to speak of.  Flight attendants meeting my every desire with tiny bags of mini pretzels, small plastic glasses of diet soda, and free Sky Mall magazines containing page after page of expensive items I could never afford.

Of course, with the indescribable pleasure came the hassle of booking round-trip plane tickets and a rental car. Thanks to the Internet, the airfare was taken care of pretty quickly with an approximate savings of 50% through AirTran Airways. Nice planes, decent legroom, cheap price.

When it came to the rental car, I was a bit at a loss. You see, my husband travels a lot with his job and always rents his car from the same company.  He has hundreds of points racked up with them through their frequent travelers program, but when he called to make a reservation for me, he was informed that the points are for his use only!

Now I was stuck with a plane ticket, an appointment, and no transportation!  It wasn't like I was looking to drive a shiny black SUV with tinted windows and leather seats, but I have a problem with paying $86.00 plus taxes, fees, and gas for the smallest of small compact cars!

I managed to dig into a remote corner of my memory and pull out a nugget concerning perks with Club Memberships.  Some time ago, my husband and I were out of town. When we got to the rental car desk, we were kindly asked if we had any memberships that offer discounts on rental cars, whether AAA, VISA card programs, or even a Sam's Club Membership. We were able to get a free upgrade and a percentage discount simply by showing our Sam's Club membership card.  While Sam's no longer offers this courtesy to members, BJ's Wholesale Club does!

After contacting Customer Services for BJ’s, I was directed to their online travel page.  I was enticed by 25% off car rentals, free upgrades, dollars off on weekly rentals, and so on. The savings were amazing!  Armed with online information on the lowest rentals available at my destination airport, I called up my choice of rental car companies.

Here's the sweet topping that makes all the hassle worth it. When I spoke to the representative, I simply asked if they would honor the BJ's Club Membership advertised discount of 25% off the rental.  I was quickly informed that they could not give me 25% off, they could actually give me 75% off my rental! Talk about a deal! To top it off, when I arrived at the rental location, I was offered a free upgrade on my car!

So is it worth it to hold a BJ's membership? If you're traveling, it is. I saved $50.00 on my car rental. Basic membership runs you $50.00 per year. However, if you have a 2-month trial membership, you can usually get those 2 free months tacked on to your membership giving you 14 months for the price of 12.  Often customer service will offer you the 14 months for $40.00 as they did for me!

This membership will give you benefits such as exclusive high-dollar product coupons, as well as discounts on cruises, hotels, vacation packages, optical products, gold exchange services, and even vehicle purchases! They also offer the benefit of coupon stacking, either through combining a BJ's coupon and a manufacturer's coupon or multiple manufacturers' coupons to match the quantity of the bulk packaging! Check out the full benefits on their website.

This has been a guest post by Annette from Orlando, FL
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Better Journeys: How I Saved on Traveling with My BJ's Club Membership