Over the last few years, travel rewards credit cards have become increasingly popular. The concept is nothing new: pick your rewards program, charge your purchases, and earn points that you can be used on travel later.
Which travel credit card you choose requires careful consideration. Most travel credit cards come with a comprehensive travel insurance package, but what you want to pay attention to is how you can claim your rewards.
With some cards, you’re restricted to certain airlines. This is perfectly fine if you fly those airlines, but what if you prefer to book with multiple carriers?
Fortunately, there are different rewards programs where your rewards can be used on any type of travel including airfare, accommodations, car rentals and much more. This flexibility is certainly appealing since you can claim any type of travel with your points, but why not stretch out your reward dollars with these travel tips?
Saving money on flights
Be flexible with your travel plans: If you’re 100% flexible with your travel plans, you can find some incredible deals. By using the “search everywhere” and “cheapest month” options on meta-search engine Skyscanner.ca, you’ll be able to find some incredibly cheap flights.
Use price alerts: Just about every travel search engine allows you to set up price alerts. All you need to do is select your travel details and provide your email address. If the price falls on your selected route, you’ll be alerted right away.
Consider your route options: Booking a multi-destination flight (where you fly into one city and out of another) can sometimes save you money since taxes may be lower at certain airports. Alternatively, consider booking a flight that allows a free stopover. For example, if you’re flying from Toronto to Hong Kong, you can stopover in Vancouver at no extra charge.
Saving money on hotels
Be flexible with your travel plans: Similar to flights, if you’re flexible with your dates, you can get some pretty decent hotel deals. Weekends are obviously the most expensive dates, and so is travelling during the peak season. Avoid those times and you could save big.
Book directly with the hotel: Quite often hotels offer special promotions that are only available when you book directly with them. Some hotels offer discounts when you book at least 30 days in advance while others may offer the 4th night free when you pay for three nights at regular price.
Join a rewards program: Every major hotel chain has a loyalty program that instantly comes with perks. It might be something simple such as free Wi-Fi or early check-in, but as you accumulate stays, you’ll eventually earn free nights. If you want to maximize your point earning potential, you could sign up for a co-branded credit card such as the Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from American Express, or the Marriott Rewards Premier Visa.
The final word
Just because some of your travel will be “free,” it doesn’t mean you should spend more than you have to. Flights and accommodations tend to take up the most out of your travel budget, so saving every dollar counts. Plus, every dollar you save means you can use those travel rewards towards something else.
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