How To Get Rewarded For Travelling
Travelling is a rewarding experience in more ways than one. Travelling to an overseas destination you haven’t previously visited can be intriguing and exciting, however very few of us travel regularly due to the high costs involved (except those who need to travel for business reasons, of course). Wouldn’t it be great to be able to travel more often at significantly reduced prices? Well, these days there are a variety of reward programs available that can significantly lower the costs of travel if you know how to use them effectively. You might have tried to make the most of your reward points in the past, but have been caught out with expired points, blackout dates blocked in key travel periods, and taxes and fees for ‘free’ tickets’ becoming more prevalent. The trick is that you need to work harder and smarter to cash in on past adventures for your future travels. This article aims to provide some useful tips on how to make the most of your reward programs so you can travel more frequently, less expensively, and still have an awesome time while doing so.
Know Your Options
Whilst airlines were the first to launch loyalty programs and frequent flyer points several decades ago, nowadays there are various hotel chains that also reward regular guests, such as Best Western, Marriott and Fairmont being just a few examples. Furthermore, credit card companies love to keep you spending with their reward programs too, and travel booking sites like Expedia allow you to earn benefits and rewards for using their services as well. One of the tricks to earning as many rewards as possible is to know which airlines, hotels, booking sites and even restaurants provide generous rewards for using their services.
Don’t Pay To Join Reward Programs
Most reward programs are free to sign up with, so don’t pay unless you absolutely have to and the rewards are worthwhile. I’ve even experienced a case where I had to pay to join a reward program but was able to sign up for free simply by joining another free reward program! The only main exception with this are the annual fees you pay for your credit cards, so it’s important to spend some time shopping around to find a credit card that has cheap annual fees and a great rewards program. The only costs you should really encounter is the time and effort to monitor your different reward accounts. While it’s easy to join a few reward programs and stick with them, it’s best to have a wide mix of reward programs so you can accrue as many points out of your travel transactions.
There are many alliances with different reward programs so it’s important that you maximise your points by booking with affiliated reward groups. Travel booking sites like Expedia and Orbitz have started offering reward programs because some airlines and hotels offer considerably more points by booking directly through their websites. As you can see, it’s important to think ahead when making bookings to accrue reward points, so if you’re planning on travelling to South America, make sure you start building points with airlines and hotels that are partners with the same airlines and hotels that you’ll be using in your destination.
Upgrade Your Hotel Rooms/Airline Seats
In many cases, upgrades provide the most efficient use of reward points. You don’t always have to use your points to get a free hotel room or restaurant meal to make for a better trip. There’s an abundance of airlines and hotels that will allow you to upgrade for fewer points than getting something for free. Using your points intelligently means that you won’t always be able to accrue enough points with a particular rewards program to get a big reward, but you can use these points efficiently for luxurious upgrades to make your family holiday more memorable.
Share Your Points With Family And Friends
Travelling with family and friends is always better, so it’s good to know that most reward programs allow you to use your points for others. It’s typically quite easy to transfer airline points to family members, and some airlines have created family pooling points programs designed so that reward points can be used for the whole family, whether it be airline tickets, hotels and family vacation packages. If you enjoy travelling with your family, then this is an excellent option for you.
Making the most of your rewards points takes some research and time, but the benefits you’ll gain are well worth it.