Using your credit cards to earn reward points for travel is a legitimate and easy way to see the world with your family. In addition to flying, the reward points can help families cut costs with their hotel, rental car and meals.
Here are several cost-effective ways to leverage a credit card when traveling:
Take Advantage of Frequent Flier Promotions
You can earn points with a frequent flier card for meals, entertainment and shopping at the many participating merchants. For example, you can rack up points quickly by using your frequent-flyer credit card instead of cash or checks on your weekly trips to the market. Believe it or not, this simple strategy is one of the best ways to earn free tickets almost anywhere in the world.
Sign up Bonuses and Promotions
Today, credit card companies compete heavily for your business by offering valuable bonuses and promotions for consumers to sign up. Before filling out your application, do your own bit of online investigative work by researching the credit card companies that offer the most mileage to ensure you’re getting the most for your money. Remember, however, that signing up for a credit card isn’t an invitation to accrue debt; this method is strictly for budget-friendly individuals who are looking to charge their normal monthly purchases and use them to their advantage. Be on the lookout for credit-card companies that offer double-point bonuses during the introductory period.
Never Carry a Credit Card Balance
Frequent-flyer credit cards typically offer higher interest rates, so it’s important to pay off your debt each month. You can ensure this by maintaining — and sticking to — a strict budget when you’re making purchases with your frequent-flyer credit card.
Choose the Right Credit Card
If your reward points are limited to hotels, restaurants and car rental facilities that you won’t frequent, you’ll be wasting your money in the long run — so choose wisely when it comes to selecting the right credit card. You’ll get the most value out of your card by selecting a card without restrictions. Also remember to review the terms and conditions by checking the fine print; certain cards that offer frequent-flyer miles have blackout dates and limit the times of the year that you can fly.
Get Creative with Your Points
Many credit card companies restrict how you can use your frequent-flyer miles. However, a few companies allow you to convert the points into other points. You can also enjoy international travel on many of the 50-plus global carriers. And your savings don’t have to end with your flight because you can usually redeem your points for rental cars and hotels too.
Volunteer to Get Bumped
Often times, an airline will overbook a flight. If you don’t have a specific deadline to get home, and you can take a later flight, you can receive additional free mileage points by volunteering to get bumped. Just remember to take into consideration whether you’ll need to rent a hotel for another night and if your luggage has already been checked.
Finding the perfect credit card is a lot of work. However, with a little research, you should be able to find the perfect card that is right for you. By taking advantage of the bonus points and promotional codes many of the companies offer, it’s not hard today to earn free worldwide travel points quickly.
Photo Credit: Andrei Dimofte