Road Rules - Rule 3

Don't just sit there — join the club!

Who: Joe Brancatelli JoeBranc@aol.com , former editor, Frequent Flyer; consulting editor, Biztravel.com

Home Base: Cold Spring, New York

Mileage: 100,000 miles per year

Favorite Destination: Hong Kong

Don't Leave Home Without It: Radio with earphones

"Business travelers are usually smart when it comes to frequent-flyer miles. But miles are just one part of the travel equation. I can't figure out why more business travelers don't join airline clubs. Such clubs are the cheapest way to stay sane on the road.

"The lounges offered by these clubs give you a place to sit, work, or just cool out. We all have holes in our travel schedules. Sometimes we work in hotel rooms. For me, it's just as easy to bang away on my laptop in an airport lounge.

"American Airlines charges $250 for an annual membership in its Admirals Club. That's a great deal. Obviously, you should join clubs affiliated with the airlines that you fly most frequently. But you should also join the Priority Pass program (800-352-2834), which for $295 a year gets you into 215 lounges around the world. It's especially valuable in Europe and Asia.

"Once, on my way to Hawaii, I found myself with a six-hour wait. I also had the flu. So I went to the airline lounge, commandeered a corner, and lay down. The staff brought me tea and soup. If I'd had to wait by the gate, I probably would have wound up in a hospital."

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