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CNBC Travel

Your boarding pass could be your ticket to hidden perks: Here's how to access them


An airline ticket doesn't give passengers much in the way of "extras" like meals, cocktails or a reserved seat in the air. However, tucked away in boarding passes that most travelers toss away, are a wide range of free and discounted perks.

Bonuses include free ski lift tickets, complimentary wine tastings, as well as discounts on meals, ground transportation and adventures. There are even some extras available to railroad passengers as well.

Some of the deals, compiled by CNBC, are offered for limited times, or only during certain seasons, but others can be used multiple times. Read the details – and keep them in mind the next time you're quick to delete or toss your boarding pass after your trip.

Ski for free

Some boarding passes allow access to free ski lift tickets.
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Skiers can score a free lift ticket and, in some cases, free or discounted gear rental. All they have to do is show an Alaska Airlines boarding pass at a dozen ski resorts in places like Alaska, California, Colorado, and Utah, just to name a few. Most of the deals invite travelers to hit the slopes on the days they arrive or depart, and can represent a savings of up to $200.

At some resorts, such as Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows in North Lake Tahoe, guests who show a same-day boarding pass from any commercial airline receive a complimentary lift ticket for the day they arrive.

Tour wine country, ship a case for free

Boarding passes unlock perks such as complimentary winery tastings or a free checked case of wine on certain flights.
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In Oregon, Washington, Idaho and parts of California, an Alaska Airlines (AS) boarding pass is a win-win for wine drinkers.

Through the airline's "Wine Flies Free" program, members of its Mileage Plan are able to check a case (12 bottles) of wine for free when flying domestically on AS, Horizon Air and SkyWest flights. The plan covers 29 west coast cities, including wine lover hotspots like San Francisco, Portland and Seattle.

In the wine regions of both Oregon and Washington, hundreds of participating wineries also offer complimentary tastings to anyone showing an inbound AS boarding pass and proof of Mileage Plan membership.

And, as part of Washington's Taste and Tote program with Alaska, the drop-off fee will be waived for one-way Hertz rental cars picked up in Yakima, Pasco/Tri-Cities or Walla Walla, and returned at one of the other two cities in the program.

Boarding pass deals from international carriers

Dolmabahçe Palace Clock Tower, with Dolmabahçe Mosque in the background, Istanbul.
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Turkish Airlines passengers with layovers of between six and 24 hours in Istanbul can show their boarding passes at the Hotel Desk and join a free highlight tour of the city.

Separately, Korean Air's Excellent Boarding Pass program offers a full week of perks in Korea to passengers who hold onto their international boarding pass from an overseas region. Passengers traveling from Korea to an international destination can take advantage of boarding pass offers for a full month.

In Korea, the perks include discounts on everything from meals, attractions and cultural performances to cell phone rentals, rail tickets and medical services. Worldwide, the perks range from discounts at outlet malls in the United States and 30 percent off single visits to the aquarium, zoo and other attractions in Sydney, Australia.

Singapore Airlines' Boarding Pass Privileges program offers Singapore Airlines and SilkAir passengers a full month of discounts on hotel stays, car rentals, meals and local attractions. Deals are updated every six months, and include discounts on shopping, dining and spa services inside Changi Airport as well.

The Magic Boarding Pass program from Asiana Airlines offers passengers discounts on tours, transportation, hotels, restaurants, shopping, theater and attractions around the world for up to a month after a flight.

Perks by land

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, inside Disneyland in Anaheim, California.
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The boarding pass perks aren't limited to air travelers. Amtrak and Eurostar riders get bonuses too.

In California, Amtrak has a discount offer on Disneyland Resort theme park tickets for passengers with reservations on the Pacific Surfliner. Many transit providers along the route also provide free bus or shuttle rides to passengers who show their Pacific Surfliner ticket. Train passengers are able to purchase discounted day passes for the Los Angeles Metro and San Diego MTS buses and trolleys in the Surfliner's Café Car.

A "Car Free" promotion in Santa Barbara offers discounts on tours, attractions and meals to Amtrak ticket holders as well.

And Eurostar boarding passes entitle passengers to 2-for-1 tickets on entry and special paid exhibitions at museums in destination cities including London, Brussels, Paris and Lille, France.