travel rewards http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12070/all en-US 5 Steps to Getting a Free (or Close to Free) Vacation in 9 Months or Less with Credit Cards http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_on_vacation_000044982462.jpg" alt="Couple learning to use credit card sign-up spree for a free vacation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you want a free vacation at the end of the year? Of course you do! Follow these five simple steps and within nine months, you'll have earned enough rewards points from your credit cards to go on a vacation.</p> <p>Before going ahead with this plan, you should know that the higher your credit score and spending habits, the faster and more efficiently you'll be able to collect your rewards. But don't worry! You don't have to be a big spender with an outrageously high credit score to do this. It may just take you slightly longer to execute.</p> <h2>1. Know Your Credit Score and Make Preparations</h2> <p>Signing up for multiple credit cards in a short period can temporarily deplete your credit score, so timing is everything. It's important that you only do this when your credit is strong. Otherwise you risk being denied for one or more of the cards and your plan will be ruined.</p> <p>Basically, make sure you haven't applied for any credit for three months <em>before </em>you start and plan to not apply for any credit for three months <em>after </em>you've completed it. This is especially true of big credit applications like mortgages and lines of credit.&nbsp;Don't worry, your score will recover (and likely be even better) after a few months with the new cards.&nbsp;</p> <h2>2. Research and Find the Right Cards</h2> <p>People have been signing up for multiple cards to bundle bonus points since credit card companies started paying people to join their clubs. It's a very simple idea, but takes research, discipline, and commitment to actually pull it off properly.&nbsp;</p> <p>First, figure out where you want to go. For example, let's say you want to visit Barcelona, Spain in December. A roundtrip ticket from LAX to BCN cost 60,000 Avios + $650 fees for economy. A 10 night stay at an eligible hotel using Chase Ultimate Rewards points start at 12,000 points (for a two star hotel). Here are the options that will get you there:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/for-business-travelers-citibusiness-aadvantage-platinum-select-world-mastercard">Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard</a> offers 50,000 AAdvantage bonus miles after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months. Annual fee: $95, <strong>waived for the first year</strong>. (AAdvantage miles are redeemable for Avios reward flights.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-sapphire-preferred-review">Chase Sapphire Preferred card</a> offers 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. Annual fee: $95, <strong>waived for the first year</strong>. (Chase Ultimate Rewards Points are transferrable to Avios miles.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-venture-rewards-card-review">Capital One&reg; Venture&reg; Rewards Credit Card</a> offers 40,000 bonus miles (equal to $400 redeemable as statement credit) after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months. Annual fee: $59, <strong>waived for the first year</strong>.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards with Travel Rewards</a></p> <p>The key here is to make sure you know which airlines will take you where you want to go, and then find the corresponding cards that you can use for those airlines. Co-branded <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards">airline credit cards</a> are easy -- the miles will already be in the airline program you want. Other travel rewards cards will offer points that you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles">transfer to partner airline programs</a>, and still others will allow you to apply your points as statement credit (you purchase your travel and then use points to pay for it). All of these options have pros and cons (statement credits allow you to have the most flexibility -- you can book with whatever airline or hotel you want -- but with airline miles you can usually get a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-credit-cards-have-the-best-travel-redemption-value">higher value ticket</a> than a straight points to dollars conversion).</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">How Travel Rewards Credit Cards Work</a></p> <h2>3. Calculate the Spending Requirements</h2> <p>Once you've narrowed down the list of cards that will give you the specific miles/points you need, you need to break down each card's spending requirements to find out how much you'll have to spend to get your bonus points. Using the example above, you'd need to spend the following:</p> <ul> <li>Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard: $3,000 in 3 months</li> <li>Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: $4,000 in 3 months</li> <li>Capital One Venture Card: $3,000 in 3 months</li> </ul> <p>Now I'm not advocating you go on a 10k spending spree to get your free vacation. In order for this to truly be &quot;free&quot; you need to already have about $1300 in monthly expenses that you can charge to a credit card over nine months. This is why you shouldn't sign up for all these cards at the same time. You'd be stuck with trying to spend $3500 per month in order to get the bonus if you were approved for all three cards at once.</p> <p>If it looks like you can meet the spending requirements without overextending yourself, then you can move on to the next step.</p> <h2>4. Apply for the Cards</h2> <p>As mentioned earlier, the better your credit score, the better your chances of being accepted for all of these cards. You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report each year from AnnualCreditReport.com, so take advantage of it.&nbsp;Once you've confirmed that your credit is strong enough, it's time to start applying.</p> <p>Remember, depending on your monthly expenses, you may need to stagger applying for these cards 3 months at a time. If you don't meet the spending requirement, you do not get the bonus points!</p> <p>If you get denied, you can still call the provider and plead your case. Usually the rejection letter will include a reason why you were denied. If you have been told that you have too many credit cards with the same issuer, offer to close one account or lower the credit limit on one of them.</p> <h2>5. Set a Spending Schedule</h2> <p>Once you're approved, you need to be sure to meet the spending requirement. Use the new card for your expenses and monitor it to make sure you are on track to meet the requirements. You can even set alarms for yourself to ensure that you're reaching the spending goals. Once you've met the requirements, it may take 1-2 billing cycles for the bonus points to appear. In the example above, after 9 months, (or less, if you can meet the spending requirements for multiple cards at once) you'll have:</p> <ul> <li>50,000 AAdvantage points (redeemable as Avios)</li> <li>50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points</li> <li>40,000 Venture Rewards miles</li> </ul> <p>To book your flight, first transfer 10k Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Avios points. Now along with the 50,000 AAdvantage points you effectively have 60k Avios for your rountrip ticket. Book it with your Venture Rewards card (you'll have to pay $650 in fees for the rewards flight). Use your 40k Venture card miles to apply $400 to your purchase. Then use the rest of your Chase Ultimate Rewards points to book your hotel (with 40k points you can get 10 nights at a 4 star hotel). You'd have paid $250 for your 10 day Barcelona flight + hotel.</p> <p>Note that these cards all waive the annual fee for the first year, so you can pocket all of those points in year one without having to pay the yearly fee. After the year is up, the combined annual fees of all of these cards is $249, so it's important that you keep a reasonable spending schedule even after you complete the spree. You'll want to make sure that these are cards you actually want to keep even with the fees -- you can continue to rack up miles and points with these cards for your next free vacation.</p> <h2>Recap</h2> <p>Let's quickly go over the information that we've covered in this article:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores">Check your credit score</a> and ensure that you're in a good position to apply for multiple cards.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Plan carefully by choosing the best credit cards based on their sign-up bonuses.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Calculate the rewards that you stand to earn.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Apply for the cards.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Keep organized and set a spending schedule to ensure that you meet the minimum spending requirements on each new credit card.</li> </ul> <p>There you have it! It's just that easy. It's worth noting that when paying for a flight with points, you'll still need to pay some taxes and fees. Which is why your vacation is likely to be &quot;close to free&quot; instead of 100% free (in my example above, British Airways charges the most fees for award flights, so choosing another airline will help lower the out-of-pocket and get your much closer to FREE). You can also check out these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds">10 flight booking hacks</a> to help make up the difference.</p> <p><em>Have you used the Bonus Spree strategy to earn free travel?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">How Travel Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel free vacation rewards credit cards rewards miles sign up bonuses travel rewards Thu, 28 Jan 2016 19:05:27 +0000 Nick Wharton 1586246 at http://www.wisebread.com Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_credit_card_000048180644.jpg" alt="Woman shopping with her credit card cash rewards" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Should you earn <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=inarticle">cash back rewards</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=inarticle">travel rewards</a> from your credit card? Frankly, it is a question that is nearly as old as reward cards themselves, and the answer has always been &quot;it depends.&quot; Here's a breakdown of the ins and outs of the world of rewards credit cards. Now, you can decide which one will get you the biggest bang for your credit card buck.</p> <p>Of course, you need to be aware that rewards are only rewarding if you pay off your balance in full each month. Otherwise, the interest that you accrue on your balance will always be much more than the rewards you're gaining.</p> <p>But if you're itching to get into the credit card rewards game, here's everything you need to know.</p> <h2>When You Should Choose Travel Rewards</h2> <p>Earning and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work?ref=internal">redeeming travel rewards</a> can be extremely complicated, so the ideal reward card user should be someone who is willing to put in the time and effort to deciphering their <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better">favorite airline</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-hotel-rewards-programs?ref=inarticle">hotel programs</a>. While earning free travel sounds like an amazing deal, some cardholders may find it frustrating trying to redeem the miles or points they've accumulated.</p> <h3>Earning Travel Rewards</h3> <p>Most travel rewards credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for spending in travel categories, like airfare, car rentals, hotel stays, dining, and entertainment.</p> <h3>Value of Travel Rewards</h3> <p>Travel rewards offer the opportunity to get a higher value for each mile or point earned. Rewards are most valuable when redeemed for international flights in business class, expensive last minute flights, and luxury hotels. These points and miles are less valuable when used for domestic flights in economy class, especially when travelers have the ability to book flights with plenty of advanced notice.</p> <p>But when points and miles are redeemed strategically for high value award flights and luxury hotel stays, then it is often possible to receive three to five cents in value per point, which is much better than the best cash back reward cards.</p> <h3>Redeeming Travel Rewards</h3> <p>The opportunity to redeem award travel is different depending on the credit card and loyalty program it is connected with. Some credit cards guarantee no blackout dates or restrictions when booking an award flight or stay. Others only offer a limited number of seats or stays for those redeeming rewards. Others, still, will simply allow you to redeem a statement credit for any travel purchase you make. How you prefer to travel will be the determining factor for which program to join.</p> <p>Co-branded airline or hotel cards will allow you to directly use your miles to redeem award flights or stays through the loyalty program connected to the card. Many times you can book travel with their partner airlines and chains as well. General travel cards might require you to book travel through their portal or allow you to transfer points to the available programs.</p> <p>It can be very hard to redeem airline miles for flights during peak travel seasons, so these programs are not very well suited to those who only travel during the holidays. Furthermore, some avid travelers who have particular travel requirements aren't very well served by traditional airline frequent flyer programs. For example, someone who wants to take shorter flights on routes with healthy competition will never receive much value from 25,000 miles on a flight that might only cost $100-$200. In addition, large families will usually be frustrated in their attempts to find more than two or three award seats available at the lowest mileage levels. Also, those who don't like to stay in large, chain hotels aren't going to have much use for hotel points. Finally, those whose schedules preclude searching for award seats months in advance will also find their miles to be less valuable.</p> <h3>Travel Perks</h3> <p>A big benefit of travel rewards cards are the included <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had">travel perks</a>. For frequent travelers (or those who simply hate the discomfort of travel), perks like priority boarding, status upgrades, lounge access, and free checked bags may prove to be valuable on its own.</p> <h2>When You Should Choose Cash Back</h2> <p>For many credit card users, even some who love to travel, cash back credit cards remain their best option. Using a cash back card like this allows cardholders to use their rewards for travel, paying bills, or for any other purpose they choose.</p> <h3>Earning Cash Rewards</h3> <p>Many cash back cards offer bonus points in general shopping categories, like groceries, department stores, and gas. They may also have a shopping portal that offers extra points for shopping with their partner merchants.</p> <h3>Value of Points</h3> <p>While the best travel hackers are able to get anywhere from three to five cents per point, cash back points usually have a one cent per point value. While the opportunity for point value is lower, cash back programs are simple and cardholders are guaranteed a predictable rate of return from their credit card rewards, without having to decipher loyalty programs or search for award availability. For those who have trouble redeeming their travel rewards, they run the risk of getting no value from the points they've accumulated.</p> <h3>Redeeming Cash Rewards</h3> <p>Redeeming your cash rewards is usually as simple as getting a statement credit or direct deposit into your account. Some require a minimum amount before redemption. You may also have the opportunity to redeem gift cards or products.</p> <h3>Shopping Perks</h3> <p>Many cards offer invaluable <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about">perks for shoppers</a>, like extended warranties, purchase and price protection, and credit monitoring services.</p> <p>Reward credit cards offer valuable points, miles, and cash back for your spending, but choosing the best reward card is not that easy. By considering the type of travel you prefer, you can decide if travel rewards or cash back card are right for you.</p> <p>See our picks for best credit cards:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">Best Sign-Up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-premium-credit-cards">Best Premium Credit Cards</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees">Best Credit Cards with Annual Fees</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-no-annual-fees">Best Credit Cards with No Annual Fees</a></li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards">5 Steps to Getting a Free (or Close to Free) Vacation in 9 Months or Less with Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">How Travel Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel cash back rewards credit cards travel rewards Tue, 24 Mar 2015 13:00:09 +0000 Jason Steele 1351239 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Travel Perks You Didn't Know Your Credit Card Had http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_airport_000026833547.jpg" alt="Woman waiting at the airport for her flight" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Credit card benefits aren't just about rewards and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal">cash back</a>. This is especially true when you travel. Pick the right card, and it could save you more than a pretty penny on your next trip. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?ref=seealso">Credit Card Benefits That Save You Big</a>)</p> <p>Here are some travel benefits your card may include that you aren't aware of.</p> <h2>Concierge</h2> <p>Some cards carry concierge services, meaning you can call the number on the back of the card and they can help with tasks such as travel planning, restaurant reservations, and special events tickets. While useful for those who feel incredibly strapped for time, the options they find are often pricier than what we'd find on our own and not always exactly what we'd pick for ourselves. Still, if you need some last minute details taken care of and absolutely can't take care of it yourself, this benefit may prove very useful.</p> <h2>Status Upgrades</h2> <p>Many co-branded credit cards for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal">airlines</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards?ref=internal">hotels</a> offer automatic status upgrades in their respective loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy additional benefits like room upgrades or airport lounge access, usually only reserved for those who have gained status through frequent patronage.</p> <h2>Priority Boarding</h2> <p>One benefit that's increasingly common for cards geared towards travelers is priority boarding. Usually, airlines offer early boarding for the more expensive seats (first class or business) and frequent flyers. Credit cards that offer priority boarding often come with an annual fee.</p> <h2>EMV Smart Chip Security</h2> <p>More and more credit cards are being equipped with the EMV chip which uses the chip-and-pin technology that's already been in place in Europe for a decade. It adds security and prevents fraud by authenticating the chip in your card (which is harder to copy than the information stored on the magnetic strip) and requires a 4-digit PIN.</p> <p><span style="color: rgb(17, 17, 17); font-family: georgia; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.4em;">Car Rental Insurance</span></p> <p>This is a benefit that many credit cards carry, but it comes with a catch. Most of the time, it's not complete bumper-to-bumper coverage. It often excludes collision insurance, and there are usually high deductibles. Check your card's fine print on car rental insurance so you're clear on the terms and what's covered.</p> <h2>Companion Tickets</h2> <p>While increasingly rare, there are some credit cards that still offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-airline-companion-tickets-and-3-bad-ones">companion fare deals</a>. Some cards provide a certain number of deeply discounted companion tickets per year. Others give you an opportunity to apply your rewards points toward free or inexpensive companion tickets. Those who travel frequently as a family may find this benefit to be a huge money saver.</p> <h2>Free Currency Exchange</h2> <p>One of the best travel benefits a credit card can offer is free currency exchange. When you trade U.S. dollars for foreign currency, you usually pay a fee to make the exchange. When you use a credit card abroad, you're usually charged a 3% foreign transaction fee. However, some cards offer a 0% foreign transaction fee, and that's the card you should be using when you're traveling.</p> <h2>Travel Insurance</h2> <p>Travel insurance benefits come in all shapes and sizes on different cards. Some protect your entire trip in the event of its cancellation. Others will protect your luggage should it be lost or stolen while you travel. Some cards include these benefits (including travel accident insurance) free. Before you book your vacation, check which credit card offer the best travel insurance for your needs, and use that card to make the purchase.</p> <h2>Airport Lounge Access</h2> <p>Delays are a commonplace occurrence when we travel. All of us have had that unfortunate experience that leaves us stranded on the floor of a very crowded airport hungrily searching for an outlet to charge our phones and tablets. Some credit cards provide free or discounted access to certain airline lounges complete with comfy seats, snacks, drinks, and plenty of outlets. Sometimes being a little more comfortable is all it takes to prevent a delay from ruining your trip.</p> <h2>Travel Rewards</h2> <p>Rather than forking over cash for your vacation expenses, let all the shopping you do every day rack up points that you can redeem for travel. Increasingly, credit card companies are broadening the number of ways you can redeem points. Use them for airline tickets, car rentals, hotel stays, cruises, and even that special evening out on the town. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Fee Credits</h2> <p>Save even more with cards that offer fee credits on travel incidentals like checked bags, in-flight refreshments or even for the application fee for Global Entry and TSA Pre Check. There's usually a limit so check your credit card for full details.</p> <p><span style="color: rgb(17, 17, 17); font-family: georgia; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.4em;">Global Assistance Hotline</span></p> <p>When we travel, there's a high probability that something somewhere along the way won't go as expected. Given the current state of the world, we never know where or when we might find ourselves in trouble. When you book your trip through your credit card that has a Global Assistance benefit, you'll be able to contact a toll-free number in the event of an emergency whether that involves a medical emergency or your car breaking down on the side of the road. A Global Assistance Hotline is your helping hand when you're away from home.</p> <h2>Special Access</h2> <p>Certain cards provide you with access that may be difficult to come by for non-cardmembers. Heading to New York to take in a Broadway show? Want those hard-to-come-by concert tickets or a table at the hottest new restaurant in town? Many credit cards provide advance purchase opportunities and even reservations that non-credit cardholders won't have access to until later.</p> <p>It's important to note that not all cards carry the same benefits, and benefits change from time to time without notice. The best way to find out what travel benefits your cards carry is to call the number on the back of your card and ask to be connected to a representative who specializes in travel benefits. Enjoy your vacation, and pack the cards that will make your trip cheaper and more enjoyable.</p> <p><em>Have you taken advantage of your credit card's travel perks? Which? Tell us your story in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards">5 Steps to Getting a Free (or Close to Free) Vacation in 9 Months or Less with Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel credit card perks frequent flyer rewards cards travel rewards Fri, 13 Mar 2015 16:00:04 +0000 Christa Avampato 1334945 at http://www.wisebread.com How Travel Rewards Credit Cards Really Work http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-credit-card-Dollarphotoclub_66577242.jpg" alt="woman credit card" title="woman credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are people in this world that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards">almost never pay for airfare</a>. Instead, they accumulate and use travel rewards. This is also true for hotels, and even rental cars. If you can work your travel rewards, it's possible to get solid value out of your credit card. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>A credit card that offers travel rewards is different than one that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">earns cash back</a>. Here's how travel rewards credit cards work &mdash; and how best to earn and redeem points for travel. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work?ref=seealso">How Cash Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a>)</p> <h2>Earning Travel Rewards</h2> <p>Almost all travel rewards credit cards work on a points-based system. You earn one point (or mile) for each dollar that you spend at the most basic level. However, you can usually earn extra points for certain purchases. How much you earn, and what you earn extra points for, depends on what type of loyalty program you are enrolled in and which credit card you are using.</p> <h3>General Travel Rewards</h3> <p>There are a number of general travel rewards programs that allow you to earn points and then redeem them on any number of items, from airfare to hotel stays to discounts on cruises. Most of these programs have a very straightforward one point for each dollar spent guideline. Some of these cards do offer the chance to earn extra points for certain types of spending, such as on travel or dining out. You might earn three points for each dollar spent on airfare or hotels, and two points for each dollar spent on gas or on dining out, for example.</p> <p>Choose the card that offers extra points for the category you do the most spending on to boost your ability to earn points.</p> <h3>Loyalty Travel Rewards</h3> <p>Most travel brands have loyalty programs connected to credit cards. So, you might be able to combine your usual loyalty points for hotel stays and air travel with credit card rewards. In many cases, you earn extra points or miles when you use your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">loyalty branded credit card</a> at the appropriate brand, allowing you to earn free airfare or stays even faster.</p> <p>Many of these brands also have partners. So, if you use a specific rental car company with your loyalty program card, or if you eat at a partner restaurant, you might get extra points. Some cards also have shopping portals, where you can earn extra points or miles by making purchases through a specific site. I shop for FTD flowers via my credit card's portal for Mother's Day, since I get extra points for the flowers I'd send to my mother and my mother-in-law anyway.</p> <h2>Redeeming Your Travel Rewards</h2> <p>Different credit cards have different policies regarding how you redeem the points into actual travel rewards.</p> <h3>Built-In Loyalty Programs</h3> <p>Co-branded credit cards will usually offer redemption through the loyalty program the credit card is co-branded with. You can go directly to the airline or hotel website and redeem your points or miles for travel, since your loyalty account is connected to your credit card.</p> <h3>Transferring Points</h3> <p>Many general rewards credit cards offer redemption in the form of transferring points or miles to the loyalty program they are partners with. Usually, this is not a 1:1 transfer. For example, 10,000 miles on your credit card may result in 8000 miles once it's been converted to the airline or hotel loyalty program you've selected. This is one of the disadvantages of not using a co-branded credit card, where you would get the full value of your miles. However, it does offer flexibility in which brand you want to purchase travel from.</p> <h3>Travel Portal</h3> <p>Some credit cards offer redemption through their travel shopping portal. You can spend your points by purchasing travel through their site. You may also get special discounts on the travel, which encourages you to use their portal for travel purchases even when you're not spending your rewards points.</p> <h3>Statement Credit</h3> <p>Finally, some credit cards will offer a statement credit on travel purchases as a way to redeem your travel rewards. Just make your travel purchases as usual, and then apply your points to those purchases. You'll see a statement credit within one or two billing cycles. This offers the advantage of being able to receive rewards points or miles on your travel rewards!</p> <h2>Figuring the Value of Rewards</h2> <p>One of the most interesting realities associated with redeeming travel rewards is that you can often get better value when you redeem for luxury travel, especially with international travel.</p> <h3>Fight Upgrades</h3> <p>An economy ticket from JFK airport to London's Heathrow might cost $1,507.80, and the business class might cost $6,589.30. However, you might only have to &quot;spend&quot; double the points to get a business class ticket. You might spend 60,000 miles in economy (plus pay about $210 in taxes and fees), but you could fly business class for 120,000 or 130,000 miles. That's a pretty good value for an upgrade, since if you ended up with a dollar for dollar comparison, you should be &quot;paying&quot; a little more than four times the amount, or about 240,000 miles, for business class.</p> <h3>Hotel Upgrades</h3> <p>The same is true for getting an upgrade at a hotel. I recently enjoyed an upgraded room at a hotel because of the status I earned through my credit card. The room I ended up in had a &quot;market value&quot; of $250 more than I would normally stay in. However, I didn't need to use any extra points, or pay anything extra for an upgrade. So I got a better bang for my rewards because of the program. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-card-perks-beyond-points-and-miles?ref=seealso">The Best Credit Card Perks Beyond Points and Miles</a>)</p> <h3>Discount Travel</h3> <p>However, even if you don't find yourself in those situations, travel reward redemption can still be a bonus. As long as you pay off your credit card balance each month, and you aren't paying interest, then you are basically traveling for free. You earn these points, and then you can use them to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">stay free at hotels</a>, or get a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-airline-companion-tickets-and-3-bad-ones">free boarding pass</a>.</p> <p>Other programs allow you to enjoy discounted travel. You might get a certain number of free checked bags when you fly with a branded airline if you are part of the program. You might also have access to discounted rental cars and other perks. Recently, I saved 40% off the advertised price when I rented a car through a partner of one of my travel rewards cards. Some airlines offer you the chance to purchase a &quot;companion ticket&quot; for $99, or for some other discount as one of the perks. If you would normally have to pay $350 for another ticket, that can be a big savings, and add to the value of the rewards program.</p> <p>It's important to remember that, no matter what you do, you won't see a dollar for point/mile redemption with a travel reward card. The &quot;dollar value&quot; of your travel rewards often fluctuates, depending on how you earned the points or miles (was it a &quot;bonus&quot;?) and what you are redeeming them for. In the international travel example above, redeeming for an economy class ticket means that each mile only had a value of about 0.025 cents. However, redeeming for business class travel (for 130,000 miles), meant a value of about 0.051 cents. Miles redeemed for business class travel have a higher &quot;value&quot; in many cases. Similar calculations can be made when you book a luxury hotel room, as opposed to a standard room. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better?ref=seealso">Which Airline Loyalty Program Offers the Highest Value in Miles?</a>)</p> <h3>Watch for Redemption Limits</h3> <p>Realize, too, that there are some limits to redemption. You will get the best value if you use a co-branded credit card with a specific brand. Your loyalty will be rewarded. General travel programs don't offer the same points/miles value, although you do have more flexibility. For example, a general credit card rewards program might charge 80,000 or 90,000 miles for an international economy flight, but you could choose to fly on any airline. You would spend fewer miles if you were using a co-branded credit card, but you'd have to fly with that particular airline (or its partners).</p> <p>Some loyalty programs have blackout dates, so you might not be able to redeem your miles during peak travel times. Other credit cards offer zero blackout dates for travel redemption, but again, the value you receive for your miles or points could be lower. You might also be limited to certain hotel rooms or certain styles of car when you get a rental.</p> <p>Travel rewards can be rewarding indeed &mdash; as long as you pay attention to the terms, and make it a point to get the best bang for your travel rewards buck.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/miranda-marquit">Miranda Marquit</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards">5 Steps to Getting a Free (or Close to Free) Vacation in 9 Months or Less with Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had">12 Travel Perks You Didn&#039;t Know Your Credit Card Had</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel travel rewards Wed, 04 Mar 2015 22:00:07 +0000 Miranda Marquit 1317237 at http://www.wisebread.com This Might Be the Best Travel Rewards Program (No Matter What Airline You Fly) http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-168759740.jpg" alt="family on plane" title="family on plane" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are so many different types of reward programs that offer miles and points that it can be very difficult for those newer to the world of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">rewards credit cards</a> and (almost) free travel to know where to start. If you're interested in diving in, a very good place to consider starting is with the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. These points are flexible, valuable, and easy to earn.</p> <p>However, a &quot;secret&quot; that many people don't know is that cards within the program can work together to help you earn even more for your purchases. Here are some details about how the program works and how to get the maximum value when earning and redeeming Chase Ultimate Rewards.</p> <h2>What Is a Chase Ultimate Rewards Point?</h2> <p>A Chase Ultimate Rewards point is a credit card rewards point earned via a Chase credit card that falls under the Ultimate Rewards umbrella. Right now that includes cards such as the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-freedom-visa-review-200-cash-back-bonus?ref=internal">Chase Freedom</a>, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-sapphire-preferred-review-500-signup-bonus?ref=internal">Chase Sapphire Preferred Card</a>, Ink Cash, and Ink Plus.</p> <h2>How Do You Earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points?</h2> <p>You earn at least one point per dollar charged on a card that earns Ultimate Rewards. But the real trick is to take advantage of the bonus categories of these various cards in order to rack up the points much faster.</p> <h3>Chase Freedom</h3> <p>Earn 5x up to $1,500 quarterly max at rotating categories that have historically included places like restaurants, gas stations, department stores, and more. There is no annual fee.</p> <h3>Chase Sapphire Preferred</h3> <p>Earn 2x on travel and dining. Also, get 20% off travel redeemed via Ultimate Rewards. ($95 annual fee, waived the first year.)</p> <h3>Chase Ink Cash</h3> <p>Earn 5x points per $1 on the first $25,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, Internet, and cable TV services. Earn 2x points per $1 on the first $25,000 spent annually at gas stations and restaurants. (No annual fee.)</p> <h3>Chase Ink Plus</h3> <p>Earn 5x points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services. Earn 2x points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent annually at gas stations and hotel accommodations (when purchased directly with the hotel). Also, pay 20% off travel redeemed via Ultimate rewards. ($95 annual fee.)</p> <h3>Ultimate Rewards Mall</h3> <p>Another great way to earn Ultimate Rewards points is via the Ultimate Rewards Mall. This is an online shopping portal that is open only to those with an Ultimate Rewards earning card. In this &quot;online mall&quot; you can earn bonus points for online purchases at retailers such as Home Depot, Sears, Kohl's, Pottery Barn, REI, Apple, and J.Crew. You click via provided links from the Ultimate Rewards Mall to your favorite retailer's site and then make your purchase like normal. For doing so, you earn a bonus number of Ultimate Rewards points that range anywhere from one extra point per dollar to 25 extra points per dollar.</p> <p>At 10 extra points per dollar this means that your $100 online purchase at Kohl's goes from earning 100 points to earning the 100 points it normally would on your card plus 1,000 bonus points for making the purchase at 10x via the Ultimate Rewards Shopping Mall. This is a great way to earn a ton more Ultimate Rewards points in a hurry!</p> <h2>Redeeming Ultimate Rewards</h2> <p>You can redeem the points at a one point equals one cent value for merchandise such as a digital camera, retailer gift cards to places like Gap, as a direct deposit into a Chase account, at <a href="http://www.amazon.com/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Amazon.com</a>, or as a statement credit.</p> <p>But that's as much as you can do with a Freedom or Ink Cash cards as far as redemption.</p> <p>The other cards (the ones with an annual fee, of course) offer you more travel value.</p> <p>First, you get an additional 20% off travel redemptions through Ultimate Rewards.</p> <p>But the best redemption value comes when you transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to a hotel or airline partner such as United MileagePlus, Hyatt Gold Passport, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Korean Air Skypass, Marriott Rewards, IHG Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Virgin Atlantic.</p> <p>Many people, myself included, get far more than the one cent per point value when you can transfer to some of those programs listed above. For example, via Hyatt Gold Passport you can book a room on the ski slopes at the Hyatt Escala Lodge in Canyons Mountain Resort for just 15,000 points per night. During peak ski season nights, rooms at this hotel can go for $400 - $500 per night, so clearly you get more than one cent per point value when you use your Ultimate Rewards points in this manner.</p> <p>Even better, you can combine points with spouses or domestic partners!</p> <h2>The Chase Duo</h2> <p>As I mentioned earlier, you can use Ultimate Rewards to its fullest power by having several cards and accounts under Chase. Specifically, if you have two of the following:</p> <ol> <li>A Chase Freedom Card or Chase Ink Cash Card;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus Card.</li> </ol> <p>As I mentioned above, the Freedom and Ink Cash cards allow you to redeem your points for gift cards, travel (spent via the Ultimate Rewards portal), or cash at one point equals one cent. However, if you also have one of Chase's top tier cards (Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus), you can transfer your points to these cards, which you can then use to transfer 1:1 directly to hotel and airline partners!</p> <p>This means you can take advantage of Freedom's 5x quarterly bonus points <em>and</em> be able to transfer them at a 1:1 rate to travel partners. You can't do this if you have the Freedom card alone. You must have either a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card in order to do the 1:1 transfer.</p> <p>Ultimate Rewards points, when used to their maximum potential, can bring otherwise unattainable luxury travel expenses like ocean-front resorts, first or business class flights, and more into the realm of very possible. Now get out there and start turning your everyday purchases into a pile of valuable Ultimate Rewards points!</p> <p><em>Have you taken advantage of the Chase Duo to wrack up the reward miles?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/summer-hull">Summer Hull</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles">5 Best Credit Cards that Transfer Points to Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel airline miles credit card rewards travel travel rewards Tue, 29 Apr 2014 08:00:37 +0000 Summer Hull 1137336 at http://www.wisebread.com Getting Your Travel Rewards on the Ground http://www.wisebread.com/getting-your-travel-rewards-on-the-ground <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/getting-your-travel-rewards-on-the-ground" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-2437079-small.jpg" alt="travel" title="travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Airlines were among the first travel providers to offer loyalty programs for their frequent customers, and when we think of award travel, we usually mean frequent flyer miles. And while air travel is often the most expensive part of our vacations, hotels and rental cars can equal or exceed the cost of airfare in some instances. Besides, once you have earned an award flight, your next priority is to shave as many other expenses from your trip as possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Fortunately, hotel loyalty programs can offer outstanding value with few of the hassles of airline frequent flyer programs. In fact, many of the most popular programs offer award nights in any available standard room, with no blackout dates or capacity restrictions.</p> <p>So how do get the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/8-hotel-and-car-rental-tips-for-business-travelers">most value from hotel and other programs</a>?</p> <h2>Hotel Reward Programs</h2> <p>Let's start where the savings are greatest &mdash; your hotel.</p> <p><strong>1. Find the Right Program</strong></p> <p>My favorite hotel programs include Starwood, Hyatt, Wyndham, and Club Carlson, but each has its own unique strengths.</p> <p>Starwood offers award nights at mid-tier properties for as little as 2,000 points a night, while you can book the most expensive Hyatt rooms (that can sell for over $1,000) for no more than 22,000 a night. Clubs Carlson offers its credit card holders one free night with every award stay.</p> <p>It can also be a good idea to consider some budget chains that offer surprisingly upscale accommodations overseas. For example, Choice hotels are often found near highway exits in small towns, but they also offer some remarkable properties in Europe.</p> <p>On the other hand, several hotel programs now require tens of thousands of points for even modest accommodations as a result of recent changes. Hilton is one program that made some of the largest changes, while I have never been able to extract much value from Marriott Rewards and IHG Priority Club.</p> <p><strong>2. Choose the Right Credit Card</strong></p> <p>My <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-rewards-card-the-starwood-preferred-guest-credit-card-from-american-express">love affair with the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express</a> is well known, but there are several other great hotel credit cards.</p> <p>Look for programs that offer free nights at sign up, bonus points for spending at certain categories of merchants, and elite status that will offer you room upgrades, free Internet, and even free breakfast. For instance, the Hyatt card from Chase offers new cardholders two free nights at any Hyatt property and immediately grants them Platinum status.</p> <p><strong>3. Book the Best Awards</strong></p> <p>Finding a hotel award is incredibly easy compared to searching for airline awards. Nevertheless, travelers should follow many of the same rules they live by when it comes to airline awards, such as looking for awards that offer the most value per point. For example, leverage programs with no blackout dates or capacity controls when you need a room during the peak season or a special event. Also, when traveling overseas to extremely expensive cities like Paris or Milan, hotel awards can offer the most value per points.</p> <h2>Rental Car Awards and Travel Activities</h2> <p>After airfare and hotels, renting a car can be the largest expense of your trip.</p> <p>Although some frequent flyer programs will allow you to use their miles for rental car awards, I have never found more than a puny one cent per mile in value from these offers. So for these expenses, I try to use points from bank rewards programs.</p> <ul> <li>Capital One's Venture Rewards card offers double miles on all purchases that are worth one cent each towards any travel expenses such as rental cars.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Chase's Ultimate Rewards points can be used to book rental cars and activities, and holders of the Sapphire Preferred card receive a reasonable 1.25 cents in value per point.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Likewise, Citi's ThankYou Rewards program also offers points that are worth one cent each towards rental cars and activities. In fact, the Chase Ultimate Rewards program and the Citi ThankYou program both use the same travel provider.</li> </ul> <p>Using these programs, I have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-best-local-discounts-for-a-trip">also found valuable rewards</a> such as airport transfers, adventure sports activities, and scenic tours.</p> <h2>Putting It All Together</h2> <p>On a recent family vacation, we tried to see how far we could go on points and miles alone, spending as little cash as possible. First, we transferred 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points each to United Airlines and booked three first class tickets from Denver to the island of Maui in Hawai'i. Then, we booked seven nights at the fantastic Hyatt Maui, which normally costs 22,000 points per night. Next, I used my Citi ThankYou points to rent a car, visit an aquarium, and even take my daughter on a submarine ride.</p> <p>Of course, we still needed to pay for our gas, food, and some of our activities, which was more expensive than staying home. Yet considering that we made over $10,000 worth of travel reservations, and spent less than $1,000 in cash, there is no denying that getting serious about award travel is seriously rewarding.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-your-travel-rewards-on-the-ground">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards">5 Steps to Getting a Free (or Close to Free) Vacation in 9 Months or Less with Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel car rental hotel deal travel rewards Wed, 17 Jul 2013 10:24:30 +0000 Jason Steele 980650 at http://www.wisebread.com Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/airplane-5270783-small.jpg" alt="airline" title="airline" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>From choice of program, to accumulation strategies, ongoing management, and eventual redemption, there are many tricks to effectively using frequent flyer miles. Here is everything you need to know to become a frequent flyer superstar. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Choosing Your Rewards Program</h2> <p>Before you even choose your weapon (aka mileage programs and strategies), you need to establish the game at hand. Instead of randomly collecting miles for the sake of collecting them, find a reason to earn miles. Is it a business class flight to Europe? A family vacation to Disney? The more focused you are in your intent, the more targeted and effective your accumulation strategies will be. (See also: <u><a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/maximize-the-value-of-your-airline-miles-and-points">Maximize the Value of Your Airline Miles and Points</a></u>)</p> <p><strong>Programs Galore</strong></p> <p>Although generally referred to as &quot;frequent flyer miles,&quot; a more accurate term would be &quot;reward miles&quot; or &quot;reward points,&quot; since not only airlines, but hotels, transportation providers, and even grocery stores provide opportunities for accumulating points that can translate into free or discounted travel.</p> <p><strong>Understand the Alliances</strong></p> <p>Most major airlines belong to an alliance, which allows for accumulation and redemption of miles with different airlines. Thus, you can accumulate miles with US Airways, and redeem them for flights on Swiss Air. Or you can fly with West Jet, but attribute your miles to American Airlines.</p> <p>The three major alliances are <a target="_blank" href="http://www.staralliance.com/en/">Star Alliance</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.oneworld.com/member-airlines/">One World</a>, and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.skyteam.com/en/About-us/Our-members/">Sky Team</a>.</p> <p><strong>Diversify Among Alliances</strong></p> <p>To maximize your opportunities (without scattering your efforts too much), choose one airline from each alliance as a focal point for accumulation.</p> <p><strong>Collect Universal Points</strong></p> <p>There are a few reward miles programs (like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.alaskaair.com/content/mileage-plan.aspx">Alaska Airlines</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.starwoodhotels.com/preferredguest/index.html">SPG</a>) that provide excellent flexibility in allowing you to transfer your points to airlines and hotel programs spread across all the alliances. Look for ways to accumulate miles into one of these types of programs (such as with a credit card &mdash; see below).</p> <h2>Managing Miles</h2> <p>This is where we separate the aces from the also-rans, because managing miles is nor for the faint of heart. But all the effort will pay off, especially if you're enjoying a long-haul business class flight for a fraction of the price of an economy ticket.</p> <p><strong>Organize Yourself</strong></p> <p>Despite choosing focal points for major accumulation within each of the alliances, you're going to end up having lots of accounts. Signing up for a hotel program and liking them on Facebook for 1,000 points could come in handy down the road when you find a bonus transfer deal.</p> <p>But this means you'll also have to organize multiple user names, passwords, membership numbers, and track your earnings. Dust off your spreadsheet skills and don't be wary of joining too many programs; you never know when they'll be useful.</p> <p><strong>Use a Rewards Management Site</strong></p> <p>Though not a full substitute for the trusty spreadsheet, using a rewards management site can help you get an overview your memberships, find deals, and transfer miles between programs. The three main sites are <a target="_blank" href="http://www.awardwallet.com/">Award Wallet</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/frequent-flyer-junkie-manage-your-miles-here">Points</a>, and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.usingmiles.com/">Using Miles</a>.</p> <p><strong>Watch for Expiration</strong></p> <p>Many programs revoke your miles if your account is inactive for too long. But you can keep them going with as little as a periodic $1 online purchase earning miles to that program. Rewards management sites like those above help you to track your expiration dates so you can earn accordingly.</p> <p><strong>Beware of Transfers and Trades</strong></p> <p>Although a couple of the programs above allow you to trade miles between users and transfer miles between rewards programs, beware! Most of the time you'll lose too much value per mile for it to be worthwhile. The exception to this rule is with the universal points programs referenced earlier.</p> <p><strong>Track Your Strategies</strong></p> <p>When you complete a transaction that earns you miles (be it online shopping, booking a flight, or participating in a promotion), record your activity in your trusty spreadsheet &mdash; and double-check that the miles are deposited to your account. Sometimes you need to contact the rewards program to ensure the correct amount of miles are attributed. They're usually quite nice when you call, but don't trust all transactions to process correctly; be ready to enforce your rights.</p> <h2>Earning Miles</h2> <p>Here are some ways and means to earn miles. Combine as many strategies as you can to maximize value!</p> <p><strong>Don't Reinvent the Wheel</strong></p> <p>I don't have time to extensively research all programs and opportunities, nor to troll the frequent <a target="_blank" href="http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/index.php">flyer talk forums</a> for deals. As an answer to this, you can enroll in various membership programs such as the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-travel-hacking-cartel-fly-around-the-world-for-almost-free">Travel Hacking Cartel</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2013/06/financial-travel-tip-83-frequent-flyer-mile-accumulation-for-canadians/">Canadian Freeflyers</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.firstclassflyer.com/">First Class Flyer</a>, and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2013/06/financial-travel-tip-85-the-ultimate-guide-to-frequent-flyer-miles/">The Ultimate Guide to Frequent Flyer Miles</a> to provide a knowledge base, and deliver new deals to your inbox.</p> <p><strong>Get a Credit Card (or Two)</strong></p> <p>I've (cautiously) extolled the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">virtues of credit cards</a> for years now; the main reason being that they are excellent tools for accumulating miles on every dollar you spend.</p> <p>Choose a credit card with <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal">a plush bonus for signing up</a>, and a program that is one of your chosen focal points for accumulation.</p> <p>Some people apply ruthlessly for credit cards offering sign-up bonuses, then cancel the cards accordingly. Use this strategy with caution (don't overextend your credit, don't get yourself into unnecessary debt, and keep an eye on your credit score); but when done successfully you can earn mega-miles.</p> <p><strong>Go Shopping</strong></p> <p>This isn't a carte blanche order. But if you need to buy something (right down to gas and groceries), make sure you're earning for it. Some airline programs have online shopping malls (allowing you to earn various amounts per dollar spent across a huge variety of stores), and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/love-travel-but-hate-airline-miles-try-amexs-blue-sky-preferred">some credit cards provide bonus miles for purchases</a> in certain retail categories.</p> <p>Look for retailers offering mileage bonus deals, and pay for the item with your reward miles credit card to maximize your earnings.</p> <p><strong>Go Flying</strong></p> <p>Although the end-game is usually to fly for free (or almost free) &mdash; and ideally <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2010/06/my-business-class-travel-adventures-and-using-frequent-flyer-miles/">in business class or higher</a>, sometimes you have to fly somewhere and you don't have the miles to do it.</p> <p>Or, if you're an eager accumulator, maybe you're interested in doing a &quot;mileage run&quot; and flying a route offering a special mileage deal.</p> <p>Choose airlines that help you earn miles in one of your focal programs (remember, sometimes you can fly with one airline and earn with another), and sometimes a marginally more expensive flight with an accumulating airline beats out a slightly cheaper flight with a budget airline that earns you no miles.</p> <p><strong>Remember Hotels</strong></p> <p>Hotel rewards programs not only offer valuable points and bonuses for staying, but regular promotions that earn you miles without needing to book anything. Some hotel points are also transferrable to airline miles at good value.</p> <h2>Redeeming Miles</h2> <p>This is what it's ultimately about. You've earned the miles, and you want to use them for travel.</p> <p><strong>Remember Hotels (Again)</strong></p> <p>Using points towards stays can be quite lucrative. Remember to engineer your accumulation strategy towards your desired travel goals. You can earn miles for redemption towards flights and hotels (and even car rentals) to further cut your travel costs.</p> <p><strong>Don't Get Sidetracked</strong></p> <p>Some rewards programs offer goods, certificates, and services in exchange for your points. Most of the time, the value per mile is atrocious for these items; just buy the blender for cash &mdash; you'll pay exponentially more for it if you use miles.</p> <p><strong>Flying for Miles and Cash</strong></p> <p>If you don't have enough miles for a flight, some airlines allow you to redeem your miles and pay cash to cover the difference. Pay attention to their valuation per mile; sometimes it's worthwhile to pay all cash for this flight and earn miles, using your beefed-up mileage balance for your next flight.</p> <p><strong>Free Flights Aren't Exactly Free</strong></p> <p>Even if miles pay for your &quot;full flight&quot;, you're always on the hook for taxes, fees, and various surcharges. These vary by airline, airport, and route. You can minimize these fees with a little comparative digging.</p> <p><strong>Fly in Style</strong></p> <p>You get much better valuation on your miles when you fly in business class, and on long-haul flights. (And I must say, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/2010/06/my-business-class-travel-adventures-and-using-frequent-flyer-miles/">business class is addictive</a>.)</p> <h2>Not in the USA?</h2> <p>There is much griping amongst non-U.S. residents that the best frequent flyer mile deals are exclusive to the United States. And to a point, it's true.</p> <p>But all is not lost for those of us in Canada, Europe, and beyond. Canadians can shorten the learning curve with programs like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.canadianfreeflyers.com/">Canadian Free Flyers</a>, and regardless of where you live, there are deals you can participate in. <a target="_blank" href="http://travelhacking.org/">Travel Hacking Cartel</a> founder Chris Guillebeau surmises that at least 50% of the deals he publishes are applicable internationally, and he extends his free flight guarantee to all his readers &mdash; U.S. residents or not.</p> <p><em>How do navigate the confusing world of airline frequent flyer programs?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly">This Might Be the Best Travel Rewards Program (No Matter What Airline You Fly)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds">10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-adventurous-things-you-should-do-before-you-die">15 Adventurous Things You Should Do Before You Die</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles">5 Best Credit Cards that Transfer Points to Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Deals and Coupons Travel airline miles frequent flyer frequent flyer miles travel travel rewards Mon, 15 Jul 2013 09:48:33 +0000 Nora Dunn 980279 at http://www.wisebread.com Get Started With Travel Rewards in 4 Simple Steps http://www.wisebread.com/get-started-with-travel-rewards-in-4-simple-steps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-started-with-travel-rewards-in-4-simple-steps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-5209412-small.jpg" alt="travel" title="travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Frugal shoppers often spend a lot of effort looking for discounts worth a few dollars off of the goods they normally purchase. But what I have learned is that far greater bargains are available to those who get serious about earning travel rewards. And while some might consider the world of frequent flier miles and hotel points to be for those who purchase the most travel, I earn and spend hundreds of thousands of points and miles each year, and I hardly pay anything for my vacations. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>It took me years to learn everything I know about reward travel with points and miles, but my goal is to help you get started today with four simple steps.</p> <h2>Step 1: Organize Your Points and Miles</h2> <p>If you use a reward credit card, or have ever traveled anywhere, you probably have more than a few accounts with points and miles. But do you know how many accounts do you have, what their balances are, and when or if they expire? If this sounds overwhelming to you, don't worry! There are several websites designed to make this task easy. I use <a href="http://www.awardwallet.com/">Award Wallet</a> (free with an optional subscription), but others include <a href="https://www.points.com/">Points.com</a> and <a href="https://www.usingmiles.com/">usingmiles.com</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/perform-a-credit-card-rewards-annual-review">Perform a Credit Card Rewards Annual Review</a>)</p> <h2>Step 2: Learn More About Your Favorite Program</h2> <p>If you are interested in reward travel, you probably already have a favorite airline, hotel, or credit card program. Rather than trying to learn about the programs of all of their competitors, start by discovering something new about the one program you use the most. Simply visit their website, explore of the program's features, and find out if they are currently offering any promotions. Focus on all of the ways to earn points or miles, as well as the different options for redeeming them. Also, check out what it takes to become an &quot;elite&quot; member in their program and how far away you are from the next level. Finally, if you Google the name of program, you can tap into a wealth of knowledge published in blogs and on message boards.</p> <h2>Step 3: Set Some Reachable Goals</h2> <p>Hold off planning an around-the-world trip in first class and start by focusing <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-scoring-a-frequent-flyer-rewards-flight">on a more modest vacation</a>. If you already have some points and miles, you might look at planning a trip later this year, but if you are starting from scratch, think about looking forward to next year.</p> <p>Why should you plan so far ahead? First, you will need to accumulate enough points and miles for the trip, and that can take time. But also, it can be very challenging to find available reward seats on most airlines, and the more time you have to plan your trip, the better. On the other hand, less time is necessary when you can be very flexible with the dates you want to travel and you choice of destination.</p> <h2>Step 4: Start Earning Miles Today</h2> <p>There is no need to pack your bags, as there are plenty of ways to earn points and miles at home. The easiest way to do so is with a credit card, but this may not be the right choice for everyone. Those who are carrying a balance on their credit card should always be focused on finding the card with the lowest possible interest rate, and unfortunately that is not going to be a rewards card. And the last thing you need when you are trying to get out of debt is a product that <em>rewards</em> you for spending <em>more</em>.</p> <p>But those without credit card debt should be earning as many miles as possible from their cards!</p> <h2>Choosing the Right Credit Card</h2> <p>For beginners, the best credit card is going to have a great sign up bonus while earning points or miles that are easy to redeem. Here are my two favorite cards for beginners and seasoned experts alike:</p> <p><strong>The Starwood Preferred Guest&reg; Credit Card From American Express</strong></p> <p>Can't decide whether to get an airline or a hotel rewards card? Get both! Although this card earns points in Starwood's hotel program, they can be transferred to frequent flier miles with over 30 different airlines. New applicants earn 10,000 Starpoints after their first purchase, and another 15,000 Starpoints after spending $5,000 in their first six months of Card membership. If you want to learn more about why I think this card is great, read <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-rewards-card-the-starwood-preferred-guest-credit-card-from-american-express">my review of it</a>.</p> <p><strong>The Sapphire Preferred Card From Chase</strong></p> <p>Again, this card offers reward points that can be used for award flights as well as free nights at hotels. For each dollar spent, cardholders earn one point in Chase's Ultimate Rewards program, and two points for spending on travel and dining. Three points per dollar are earned from travel bookings made through the Chase site. And since cardholders also earn another 7% points bonus each year, they actually earn 1.07-3.21 points per dollar. Finally, new cardholders earn 40,000 points when they spend $3,000 on their cards within three months of opening their account. Once earned, points can be transferred to nine different airline and hotel programs, as well as Amtrak Guest Rewards. Read <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-sapphire-preferred-review-500-signup-bonus">my complete review of this card here</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-started-with-travel-rewards-in-4-simple-steps">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/using-airline-credit-cards-to-score-premium-travel-awards">Using Airline Credit Cards to Score Premium Travel Awards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly">This Might Be the Best Travel Rewards Program (No Matter What Airline You Fly)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel airline miles frequent flier miles travel rewards Tue, 11 Jun 2013 10:24:33 +0000 Jason Steele 977968 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couples-vacation-beach.jpg" alt="Couple on the beach" title="Couple on the beach" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are few things as alluring as the promise of free travel to exotic destinations. The banks know this, and have long offered travel rewards to their customers for using their credit cards. In turn, savvy credit card users maximize their rewards to travel in comfort and style well beyond their means. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work?ref=seealso">How Travel Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a>)</p> <p>Recently, I was explaining this to an European executive sitting next to me in Lufthansa's Airbus A380 business class while returning home from a vacation in Italy. I told him that my family and I could not possibly have paid for our three $7,000 tickets for this flight. But thanks to my travel rewards credit cards, my journey was all but free after some taxes and fees. Through careful selection and use of rewards, these kinds of trips have become an annual occurrence for my family. While there are innumerable ideas, tips, and tricks to be gleaned from endless hours of research, my mission is to do the work for you and deliver only the most valuable advice to busy people who lack the time and patience to discover and decipher these deals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you?ref=seealso">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Card for you</a>)</p> <h2>Choosing The 5 Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</h2> <p>It would be nice to pick the best travel reward cards in a purely empirical manner, the way one would choose a card with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">lowest interest rate</a>. Unfortunately, each travel rewards card offers a unique mix of benefits and drawbacks, and rarely is one card ideally suited for everyone's travel aspirations. I have read thousands of blog and forum posts, written hundreds of credit card reviews, and personally held dozens of different travel rewards cards over the last twenty years. In the end, I judge these cards based on three criteria:</p> <ul> <li><b>Value: </b>The return in cents per dollar spent</li> <li><b>Flexibility:</b> Cards that offer the most opportunities for redemptions &mdash; no blackout dates, a variety of partners, etc.</li> <li><b>Costs And Fees:</b> If fees are justified by its rewards and benefits</li> </ul> <p>Of all the travel rewards cards currently offered, these are the ones I find most rewarding.</p> <h2>Chase Sapphire Preferred Card</h2> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" alt="Chase Sapphire Preferred&reg; Card" title="Chase Sapphire Preferred&reg; Card" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=58&amp;pid=38&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1021"><img border="0" alt="" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" class="img-exempt" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/204650/599888.png" /></a><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=58&amp;pid=38&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1021">Chase Sapphire Preferred&reg;</a> cardholders are able to transfer their points to Chase travel partners at full value &mdash; 1,000 Chase points equal 1,000 partner miles/points. For most cards, some value gets lost during the transfer. Or get 20% off travel booked through Chase's site. Get double points for dining and travel transactions (1 point per $1 on other purchases). There are no foreign transaction fees. The annual fee of $95 is waived for the first year.</p> <p><strong>Sign up offer:</strong> Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.</p> <p><strong><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=58&amp;pid=38&amp;pp=1&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1021">Click here to learn more and apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred&reg; Credit Card today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Capital One&reg; Venture&reg; Rewards Credit Card</h2> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" alt="Capital One&reg; Venture&reg; Rewards Credit Card" title="Capital One&reg; Venture&reg; Rewards Credit Card" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=58&amp;pid=26&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xcard"><img border="0" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" alt="" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/161204/602905.png" /></a>The <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=58&amp;pid=26&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xname">Capital One&reg; Venture&reg; Rewards Credit Card</a> is a simple travel rewards card that offers two miles per dollar spent on all purchases. Earn unlimited miles and redeem them for statement credit on travel purchases, allowing you to choose any airline or hotel, <em>and</em> earn miles on your travel rewards. There is no annual fee for the first year. It's $59 thereafter.</p> <p><strong>Sign up offer:</strong> Get 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months, equal to $400 in travel.</p> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=58&amp;pid=26&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xend"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Capital One&reg; Venture&reg; Rewards Credit Card today!</strong></a></p> <h2>BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card</h2> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" alt="BankAmericard Travel Rewards&reg; Credit Card" title="BankAmericard Travel Rewards&reg; Credit Card" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=58&amp;pid=18&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xcard"><img border="0" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/BoA_Travel-154.jpg" /></a>The <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=58&amp;pid=18&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xname">BankAmericard Travel Rewards&reg; Credit Card</a> offers 1.5 points per $1 spent on every purchase, with no limit to the points you can earn and no expiration date on the points. If you're a Bank of America customer, you get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active checking or savings account with Bank of America. Points can be redeemed as a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, and more with no blackout dates and restrictions. This card has <strong>no annual fee</strong> and no foreign transaction fees.</p> <p><strong>Online exclusive bonus offer</strong>: Get 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1000 in purchases in the first 90 days &mdash; redeemable for a $200 statement credit that you can put towards travel purchases. New cardmembers will get to enjoy a 0% introductory APR for 12 billing cycles on all their purchases, which then becomes a 15.24%-23.24% variable APR after the offer period.</p> <p><strong><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=58&amp;pid=18&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xend">Click here to learn more and apply for the BankAmericard Travel Rewards&reg; Credit Card today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Discover it Miles - Double Miles your first year</h2> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=58&amp;pid=67&amp;pp=4&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1021"><img width="154" height="98" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/220435/604050.png" /></a>A new travel rewards card from Discover offers good rewards and flexibility in redemption. With <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=58&amp;pid=67&amp;pp=4&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1021">Discover it&reg; Miles - Double Miles your first year</a>, you earn 1.5x miles on every dollar spent on purchases. At the end of your first year, you'll get a huge bonus &mdash; Discover will double all the miles you've earned. Essentially, that's <strong>3x miles</strong> on all purchases for a whole year!</p> <p>Miles can then be redeemed for statement credit on travel expenses, or deposited as cash into an account you designate. As an additional benefit, you can get up to $30 a year of in-flight Wi-Fi fees credited back to your account. You'll also get your recent FICO credit scores for free in a chart on your monthly statements and online. There are no foreign transaction fees, and there is no annual fee.</p> <p><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=58&amp;pid=67&amp;pp=4&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1021"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Discover it&reg; Miles - Double Miles your first year Card today!</strong></a></p> <h2>Capital One&reg; VentureOne&reg; Rewards Credit Card</h2> <p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" alt="Capital One&reg; VentureOne&reg; Rewards Credit Card" title="Capital One&reg; VentureOne&reg; Rewards Credit Card" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=58&amp;pid=33&amp;pp=5&amp;uv=xcard"><img border="0" alt="" class="img-exempt" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/220437/604153.png" /></a>The <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=58&amp;pid=33&amp;pp=5&amp;uv=xname">Capital One&reg; VentureOne&reg; Rewards Credit Card</a> offers unlimited 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase. While the rewards are lower, the APR range is also lower than most cards (0% intro APR on purchases until February 2017; 12.24% - 22.24% variable APR after that). There are no foreign transaction fees and <strong>no annual fee</strong>.</p> <p><strong>Sign up bonus:</strong> 20,000 miles after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months &mdash; equal to $200 in travel!</p> <p><strong><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=58&amp;pid=33&amp;pp=5&amp;uv=xend">Click here to learn more and apply for the Capital One&reg; VentureOne&reg; Rewards Credit Card today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Conclusions</h2> <p>No discussion of rewards credit cards is complete without the warning that these products are only best for those who always pay their balances in full and never incur interest. Everyone else should use the card with the lowest APR. That said, if you do pay your balance off every month, and you love to travel, then you have much to gain by applying for and using one of these top travel rewards cards. Join me in the exciting world of those who regularly travel for free.</p> <p><em>My wife and daughter on one of our trips earned through travel rewards cards</em>:</p> <p><img width="605" height="405" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/my-family-on-vacation.jpg" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-guide"><strong>Back to the Credit Card Guide</strong></a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly">This Might Be the Best Travel Rewards Program (No Matter What Airline You Fly)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel best credit cards credit card rewards travel rewards Fri, 05 Apr 2013 09:48:24 +0000 Jason Steele 775181 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Credit Card Reward Tips Many People Don't Follow http://www.wisebread.com/7-credit-card-reward-tips-many-people-dont-follow <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-credit-card-reward-tips-many-people-dont-follow" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4211839788_5f49a7bc09_z.jpg" alt="credit cards" title="credit cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As someone who advises a lot of people about credit card rewards, I'm often surprised by what the average person forgets to do when it comes to their rewards credit cards. Here are some helpful tips for making the most of your card rewards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h3>1. Conduct an Annual or Bi-Annual Award Card Audit</h3> <p>This is the biggest mistake people make. Ten years ago, you might have done some research and found that card XYZ was the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-type-of-rewards-credit-card-is-right-for-you">best card (according to your needs)</a> on the market. The result is that 10 years later, you're still using the same card.</p> <p>Credit card reward earning rates and redemption benefits change. New card offerings can easily make old card offerings obsolete. Recently I was talking with a relative about his use of a certain card, and I realized that by re-evaluating the current card offerings, he would be able to earn an extra $100-$200 per year.</p> <h3>2. Don't Chase After Rewards When Payments Are Costing You More</h3> <p>It's human nature to think that we're smarter than most other people, and it's amazing the number of people who carry a balance on their rewards cards, thinking they are doing something smart because after spending $10,000, they get a $100 reward. The problem is that the $100 award is costing them $1,000 in interest . That simply doesn't make sense.</p> <h3>3. Don't Use a Point Card If the Value Is Less Than a Penny Per Point</h3> <p>Personally, I'm a big fan of<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards"> airline and hotel points</a>. I find that our family can easily get a 2-5 cent value out of each dollar point we spend on different credit cards. However, there are a lot of people who will redeem their points at below even a .05 cent value. That's a bad idea. If you're not going to redeem your points for valuable items, then you should just use a straight cash back card that will at least give you 1-2% on every purchase. If you're earning less than 1% value from your points, it's time to consider a new card.</p> <p><span style="color: rgb(17, 17, 17); font-family: Georgia, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 1.4em; line-height: 2em;">4. Always Know the Most Valuable Use of Your Points or Miles</span></p> <p>Free is good, but more free stuff is better.</p> <p>You can use your points to buy things like an iPod, but here are some other things you could do:</p> <ul> <li>You could transfer your points to British Airways and pay 50,000 points plus about $100 in taxes and fees to fly business class return from Miami to Lima. That trip is pricing out at Orbitz starting at $1,500. &nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You could transfer those points to Delta and have enough miles for almost three round-trip tickets anywhere in the US (three tickets would require 75,000 Delta miles). With the average cost of a domestic ticket over $300, that's nearly a $900 value.</li> </ul> <p>That's a bad feeling when you realize you wasted your award points.</p> <p>Don't spend all your time focusing on how you earn your points. Learn how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tips-for-scoring-a-frequent-flyer-rewards-flight">maximize using your points</a> as well.</p> <h3>5. Develop a Credit Card Spending Strategy</h3> <p>If you own more than one awards card, do you know which is the best card to use for specific situations?</p> <p>Certain cards offer extra points for gas, office supplies, restaurants, travel, and other specific categories. You must know the best ways to use your cards.</p> <p>Right now I have three cards that I rotate. How, when, and where I use them is determined by the rewards potential by each use. A spending strategy doesn't just consider award benefits, but it also considers other benefits like warranty coverage, rental car benefits, and foreign currency exchange fees.</p> <p>Some cards offer one additional year of extended warranty coverage, so use those to buy electronics. When renting cars, you should give consideration to cards that offer primary rental car insurance. And you don't want to spend a few thousand dollars on your vacation overseas only to find out that if you used a different card you could have saved hundreds of dollars in foreign currency exchange fees. Be sure to use a 0% foreign currency exchange credit card when traveling overseas.</p> <h3>6. Don't Overlook a Reward Card Simply Because It Has an Annual Fee</h3> <p>If you can get a good reward card that doesn't have an annual fee, then that's great. However, I've known people who could earn a lot more points by using a rewards card with an annual fee, but they refuse to do it out of principle, even when the rewards value far outweighs the annual fee cost.</p> <p>Don't pay an annual fee if you're not going to get more awards for doing so. However, I've advised a lot of people to get an award card with an annual fee because they'll actually end up with more rewards value than the cost of the annual fee.</p> <h3>7. Focus on Diversity in Card Brands</h3> <p>IIf you're going to have multiple cards, be sure that they are from different companies, as you'll be able to have the most flexibility to maximize the rewards. Often, the rewards are not just spending bonuses, but cards might offer different discounts the companies will run throughout the year.</p> <p>Visa Signature card holders have different perks than American Express users.&nbsp;By having a diversity of cards, you'll be able to take advantage of all the best current offers each company is promoting.</p> <p><em>What other important credit card reward tips do you think people don't follow?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/craig-ford">Craig Ford</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-credit-card-reward-tips-many-people-dont-follow">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-9"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly">This Might Be the Best Travel Rewards Program (No Matter What Airline You Fly)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards annual fees credit card rewards travel rewards Tue, 24 Jul 2012 10:24:37 +0000 Craig Ford 942738 at http://www.wisebread.com Using Airline Credit Cards to Score Premium Travel Awards http://www.wisebread.com/using-airline-credit-cards-to-score-premium-travel-awards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/using-airline-credit-cards-to-score-premium-travel-awards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/first_class_flight.jpg" alt="Woman in first class" title="Woman in first class" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Picture this &mdash; two travel reward credit card holders are saving up for an airline award ticket. Over a year or two, one of them charges $40,000 to his reward card affiliated with a major domestic airline, yet has trouble finding a round trip domestic award in Economy class for the 40,000 miles he earned. The other cardholder charges the same $40,000, but she ends up with a Business class award from New York to Milan, spending several nights visiting in London, Paris, and Barcelona along the way.</p> <p>How is this possible? The first cardholder used a typical credit card associated with an airline, which offers one mile per dollar spent, and domestic economy class awards for as little as 25,000 miles. In contrast, the second cardholder used a credi card that offers <em>two </em>miles per dollar spent, and for the 80,000 miles she earned, she sat&nbsp;in Business class, visiting as many as four different cities along the way. This is a dramatic illustration of how choosing the right credit card, and redeeming the ideal award can make a dramatic difference in the value a credit card holder receives in return for their continued loyalty. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Top 5 Travel Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h3>Why You Should Use Your Reward Credit Cards for Premium Awards</h3> <p>Using a reward credit card is all about maximizing your return on each dollar spent. I hold credit cards that return 2% cash back on all spending, and some with even higher rates of return on certain purchases, so I know that any miles earned should be worth at least two cents.</p> <p>Now let&rsquo;s look at how most airlines price their tickets in miles and in dollars. A domestic round trip award ticket in economy class can require as little as 25,000 miles, but those tickets are very hard to find. Most likely, any award available at the lowest mileage rate will sell for about $250-$500, with rare exceptions. Therefore, I am only receiving only about 1&ndash;2 cents in value for my domestic economy awards. A typical economy class ticket to Europe sells for between $1,000 and $2,000 depending on the destination and the time of year I am traveling, yet the award will only require 50,000 miles at the lowest levels. Now I am receiving a more substantial 2-4 cents in value per mile spent. The same ticket in Business class will cost between $4,000 and $8,000, yet most domestic carriers will charge only 100,000 miles for the award. All of the sudden, I am earning a remarkable 4-8 cents in value for each mile redeemed, and by extension, each dollar charged to the typical <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/personal-finance/credit-cards" title="Credit Cards">rewards credit card</a>.</p> <h3>How to Maximize the Miles You Earn</h3> <p>Cardholders can further increase their returns by using a card that earns extra miles. Many cards offer mileage bonuses on broad categories of transactions, like double points on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries" title="The Best Credit Cards for Groceries">gas and groceries</a>. In addition, nearly all <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards" title="The Best Sign Up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards">airline cards</a> offer double miles for purchases with their affiliated carrier. When I use my credit card to earn double miles, and those miles are redeemed for premium class international awards, I end up with an astonishing 8-16 cents in value returned per dollar spent.</p> <h3>Earning the Right Miles</h3> <p>Why bother earning miles with one airline when some credit cards earn flexible points in a system that will allow you to transfer your points to miles in any one of several different airlines? American Express&rsquo;s Membership Rewards and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly/ref=inarticle">Chase&rsquo;s Ultimate Rewards</a>&nbsp;can be redeemed for miles with many different airlines or points in various hotel chains. I&rsquo;ve transferred points to miles with a dozen different airlines, each time earning the right award for my particular travel needs.</p> <h3>Finding the Best Awards</h3> <p>I could write a book on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-maximize-the-value-of-your-frequent-flier-miles" title="How to Maximize the Value of Your Frequent Flier Miles">how best to redeem your airline miles</a>, but if I had to sum it up in one word, it would &ldquo;Partners.&rdquo; Remember the example above? That traveler never had to set foot on a flight to earn her award. Instead, she simply redeemed her miles for an award on flights operated by its partners. Consider the possibilities of earning flexible reward points, and transferring them to the mileage programs of one of many airlines for travel on any of those airline&rsquo;s many partners. Only then will you begin to realize the endless permutations of travel awards that are offered.</p> <p>The confusing part is that each airline has its own partner award chart and its own rules. While some airlines allow travelers to visit three cities on an award ticket, others only allows one stopover (a stopover is usually defined as a change of planes with more than 24 hours in the same city).</p> <p>Ultimately, finding the most valuable awards means studying each airline&rsquo;s award chart the way you might look for great deals in your Sunday paper. It takes some effort, but I will get you started &mdash; I recently booked a Business Class partner award on Delta to Africa. It required 120,000 miles, which is merely 20,000 miles more than their Business class partner award to Europe. I will only be visiting Kenya and Uganda, but with the same award, I could have had a free stopover in Europe, continuing on as far as Madagascar or Mauritius in the Indian Ocean with their partner Air France.&nbsp;</p> <p>Despite customer&rsquo;s frustration <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-frequent-flier-program-has-the-best-awards-availability" title="Frequent Flier Program With the Best Awards Availability">redeeming frequent flier miles</a>, there are still many great values out there. By using your credit card to earn the right miles, and by finding the best value in rewards, you can still find premium travel awards that are far more valuable than mere cash back.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/personal-finance/credit-cards" style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;"><strong>Back to the Credit Card Guide</strong></a></p><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/using-airline-credit-cards-to-score-premium-travel-awards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly">This Might Be the Best Travel Rewards Program (No Matter What Airline You Fly)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards">5 Steps to Getting a Free (or Close to Free) Vacation in 9 Months or Less with Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-and-sell-airline-miles">How to Buy and Sell Airline Miles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel airline miles credit card benefits travel rewards Wed, 04 Jan 2012 11:36:15 +0000 Jason Steele 852968 at http://www.wisebread.com The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_hotel_pool_000045554220.jpg" alt="Woman lounging at hotel pool with drink" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Using points to find free award nights at hotels is just as important as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">redeeming miles for airline travel</a>, since lodging expenses can represent a large portion of your vacation budget. Therefore, those who prefer to travel on rewards earned from their credit cards are sure to carry around at least one card co-branded with a hotel chain. Frugal travelers must seek out the best credit cards for awards at hotels.</p> <h2>What Makes a Good Hotel Credit Card</h2> <p>First, look beyond the name of the parent company, as most large hotel chains offer properties under many different brand names. For example, the Marriott hotels contain luxury brands such as the Ritz-Carlton, as well as budget properties like Fairfield Inn. Next, compare the number of points earned from credit card spending with the minimum amount required for a free night award. Finally, look at other features the credit card may offer such as a generous sign up bonus or the ability to transfer points to airline miles.</p> <h3>Best Credit Cards for Staying at Hotels</h3> <p>After considering their bonuses, point accrual, usability, and other factors, these are my favorite hotel cards currently available.</p> <h3>Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card</h3> <p>The Marriott Rewards&reg; Premier Credit Card offers cardholders 5 points for every $1 spent at any one of the 4,000 Marriott Hotels located around the world, which includes the luxurious Ritz-Carlton line of hotels as well. They'll also earn 2 points for every $1 spent at restaurants, car rental agencies, and on airline tickets purchased directly from the airline. They'll earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases. There's no limit to how many points cardholders can earn. In addition, cardholders will receive a free night stay at a category 1-5 location each year after their account anniversary. Get 15 Elite Credits guaranteeing Silver Elite Status or better, which includes free Wi-Fi, 20% bonus points, and 10% discount on regular rates for weekend night stays (at participating locations). Marriott points can be converted to partner airline miles. The transfer rate varies (5:1, 10:1.5, 10:1) but there is a way to get 1:1 conversion by using Marriott's Air + Hotel package redemption option. There are no foreign transaction fees on the card. <strong>This card has an annual fee of $85 that is waived the first year.</strong></p> <p><strong>Sign up offer:</strong> 50,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 within the first 3 months.</p> <h3>IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card</h3> <p>If you're a frequent visitor to hotels that include the Intercontinental, the Crowne Plaza, or the Holiday Inn, then the IHG&reg; Rewards Club Select Credit Card may be just the card for you. Cardholders can earn 5 points for each dollar spent on stays at any of the hotels under the Intercontinental Hotels Group brand. They can also earn 2 points for each dollar spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants, along with 1 point for each dollar spent on all other purchases.</p> <p>Cardholders will also receive a free night stay at any IHG hotel around the world each year of cardmembership, and they will receive a 10% rebate on their IHG Rewards Club point redemptions as well. Additionally, cardholders will get to enjoy all of the benefits of the Platinum Elite status, which includes free internet, priority check-in, free upgrades, and 50% bonus points. IHG points can be converted to airline partner miles at a 5:1 ratio. There are no foreign transaction fees on the card. <strong>This card has an annual fee of $49 that is waived for the first year.</strong></p> <p><strong>Sign up offer:</strong> Earn 60,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.</p> <h3>The Hilton HHonors Card from American Express</h3> <p><a title="Hilton HHonors&trade; Card from American Express" alt="Hilton HHonors&trade; Card from American Express" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=39&amp;pid=10&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1023" target="_blank"><img width="154" height="98" alt="" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/220637/606817.png" /></a></p> <p>The <a rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=39&amp;pid=10&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1023" target="_blank">Hilton HHonors&trade; Card from American Express</a> offers 7 bonus points for each $1 spent at any participating hotel within the Hilton Portfolio, 5 bonus points for every $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets, at U.S. restaurants, and at U.S. gas stations, and 3 bonus points for every $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, you get to enjoy the benefits of the Hilton HHonors&trade; Silver status as long as you are a cardmember, which gets you 15% bonus points, 5th night free on Standard Room Reward stays of 5 nights or more, late check-out, and more. You can also quickly upgrade yourself to Gold status after four stays within the first 90 days of account opening or after making $20,000 or more in purchases in a calendar year. Terms and limitations apply.</p> <p>Hotels within the Hilton Portfolio include DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hampton, Contrad, and more. You can also transfer points to airline partners, at a 10:1 ratio for most airlines. <strong>There is no annual fee for this card.</strong></p> <p><strong>Sign up offer</strong>: Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors&trade; bonus points after you spend $750 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Terms and limitations apply.</p> <p><a rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=39&amp;pid=10&amp;pp=3&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1023" target="_blank"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Hilton HHonors&trade; Card from American Express today!</strong></a></p> <h3>Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card</h3> <p>The Club Carlson℠ Premier Rewards Visa Signature&reg; Card offers 10 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at participating Carlson Rezidor hotels, and 5 points per dollar spent on eligible purchases everywhere else. Additionally, get 40,000 bonus points each year when you renew. You'll also have Club Carlson℠ Gold Elite status once you use your card, which includes benefits like early check-in and late checkout, 35% bonus points, free upgrades, free internet, and more. Participating hotels include Country Inn &amp; Suites, Radisson, Park Plaza, and more. You can also choose to transfer your Club Carlson points to their airline partners at a 10 points to 1 mile rate. <strong>The card has an annual fee of $75.</strong></p> <p><strong>Sign up offer:</strong> 50,000 points after the first purchase plus 35,000 points after spending $2,500 within the first 90 days &mdash; worth up to 9 free award nights.</p> <h3>Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express</h3> <p><a title="Starwood Preferred Guest&reg; Credit Card from American Express" alt="Starwood Preferred Guest&reg; Credit Card from American Express" rel="nofollow" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=39&amp;pid=14&amp;pp=5&amp;uv=xcard&amp;fot=1023" target="_blank"><img border="0" src="http://content.linkoffers.net/SharedImages/Products/70/605866.png" style="float:right;margin:0 10px;" class="img-exempt" alt="" /></a>Although the Starwood line of properties may be well known for their high-end Westin and mid-range Sheratons, they also feature less expensive brands such as Four Points and Aloft. In fact, there are over 1,200 hotels &amp; resorts in nearly 100 countries under their program. With the <a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=39&amp;pid=14&amp;pp=5&amp;uv=xname&amp;fot=1023" rel="nofollow">Starwood Preferred Guest&reg; Credit Card</a>, you can earn up to 5 Starpoints&reg; on purchases at participating SPG hotels. (That's 2 Starpoints for which you may be eligible as a Card Member, plus the 2 or 3 Starpoints for which you may be eligible as an SPG member.) Earn 1 Starpoint for each dollar of other eligible purchases. What makes this card popular among frequent travelers is the 1:1 ratio you can get when transferring points to partner airline miles. <strong>This card has an annual fee of $95 that is waived the first year.</strong></p> <p><strong>Sign up offer:</strong> Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms and limitations apply.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=39&amp;pid=14&amp;pp=5&amp;uv=xend&amp;fot=1023" rel="nofollow"><strong>Click here to learn more and apply for the Starwood Preferred Guest&reg; Credit Card from American Express today!</strong></a></p> <p>There is value in credit card rewards for hotels, but savvy cardholders must closely examine each card's terms in order to find the true deals.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-guide"><strong>Back to the Credit Card Guide</strong></a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-11"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards">5 Best Sign-up Bonuses for Airline Miles Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly">This Might Be the Best Travel Rewards Program (No Matter What Airline You Fly)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel best credit cards credit card rewards hotel deals travel rewards Fri, 25 Nov 2011 11:48:37 +0000 Jason Steele 797043 at http://www.wisebread.com Pitting Airline Against Hotel Rewards http://www.wisebread.com/pitting-airline-against-hotel-rewards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pitting-airline-against-hotel-rewards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/534095_45005227.jpg" alt="landing plane" title="landing plane" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've ever hesitated before redeeming your airline miles and wondered if you're getting a good deal, you're in good company. Redeeming reward flights is akin to transacting in a foreign currency where you have no idea what the exchange rate is, which is never an advantageous position. To give you a leg up, <a href="http://www.nerdwallet.com/">NerdWallet</a> has put together a comprehensive <a href="http://static.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/airline-rewards.jpg">airline rewards infographic</a> for valuing your miles so that you can comfortably decide whether to redeem them or simply use a cash rewards card instead.</p> <p>Extracting every last drop of value out of your airline miles can be hard work because so many variables are at play. As you're planning your trip, factors such as when you travel, how close you are to your travel date, your flexibility around dates of travel, whether you have elite status with your airline, and plain old random chance can all affect the value you're getting. After analyzing hundreds of flights, we found that mile values can vary anywhere from one-tenth of a cent (or less) to 2 cents per mile. In other words, if you had 100,000 miles lying around in your account, those miles could be worth anywhere from $100 to $2,000 towards your airfare, depending on when you use them.</p> <p>We also believe the future for miles is looking decidedly bleak. According to <a href="http://ideaworkscompany.com/press/2010/PressRelease-51-Reward-Seat-Availability.pdf">IdeaWorks</a>, reward seat availabilities currently range from 11% to 99%. However, even Southwest Airlines, the industry leader in reward seat availability, may not be able to keep its performance up as the overall number of seats decline. &quot;There are about 17% fewer seats now available than there were a year and a half ago,&quot; says <a href="http://www.budgettravel.com/">BudgetTravel.com</a> senior editor, Sean O'Neill.</p> <p>To top it all off, airlines are charging fees for everything from bags to blankets. These fees can make a substantial difference in the cost of your flight and are often overlooked by consumers when choosing airlines. Southwest and JetBlue are the last two major airlines that allow passengers at least one free bag. While most airlines will make you pay handsomely for that third, fourth, or tenth bag (to the tune of $100 or more per bag), <a href="http://www.virginamerica.com/va/press/2010/Feb/Virgin_America_Announces_Bag_Fee_Changes.html">Virgin America</a> has an unusual but potentially valuable offering with its $25 per bag for up to ten bags policy. If you are planning a cross-country move or simply have trouble traveling light, Virgin America might offer the best value for you.</p> <p>So should you write-off all those miles you've carefully earned over the years? We don't think so. While we believe travel rewards go-getters are better off spending future dollars towards earning points in a hotel rewards program such as <a href="http://www.starwoodhotels.com/preferredguest/index.html">Starwood's Preferred Guest</a> program, savvy consumers can follow a few simple steps to get the most value out of miles already banked.</p> <p>First, identify the lowest price of the itinerary you're looking for, before taxes and fees, using a site like <a href="http://Kayak.com">Kayak</a>. Then check the site of your own rewards program to find out how many miles it costs to fly a similar itinerary on your airline, as well as on any partners in your airline's alliance. Lastly, compare the dollar cost on the other airline to the rewards cost on your airline to calculate the cost per mile, and see how that ratio stacks up against the numbers in our infographic. If you're getting a better-than-average deal on your own airline, cash in those rewards and book it. Otherwise, use your cash rewards card to book the cheaper flight.</p> <h3>Hotel Rewards: Where are you sleeping tonight?</h3> <p>We at NerdWallet also scoured redemption rates at eleven of the world's largest hotel networks and found that, on average, hotel points offer better value for money than airlines rewards, which we demonstrate in our <a href="http://static.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/hotel-rewards.jpg">hotel rewards infographic</a>. And unlike the sickly airline industry, we don't see an industry-wide decline in the near future for the number of hotel rooms available. On a cents-per-point basis, we found the most value in Starwood's Preferred Guest program, covering such household names as Sheraton, Westin, and the W. At 2.3 cents per point and no blackout dates or extra point charges on standard rooms, SPG tops our list among all hotel rewards programs.</p> <p>In addition to offering higher average point values compared to airline mileage programs, hotel rewards programs are also better at showing their appreciation for your loyalty. NerdWallet estimates that consumers can earn a free night with as few as ten nights at chains such as Carlson and Marriott. And Starwood often has &quot;Stay 2 Nights, Get 1 Free&quot; promotions. Plus, let's face it: When was the last time you associated &quot;service&quot; with the airline industry?</p> <p>As a caveat, bear in mind that while certain hotel networks may offer higher value per point, they may not necessarily suit your travel profile best. Also, hotel rewards programs tend to be very similar in features, so we believe the best practice is to pick one or two hotel networks that suit your travel habits best and stick with them. In other words, don't spread your wallet thin with too many hotel programs. Use our infographic to identify the program that suits you best, and let it reward you for your loyalty.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Tim Chen of <a href="http://www.nerdwallet.com/">NerdWallet</a>. Tim was formerly a hedge fund analyst specializing in credit card networks and technology companies, before becoming a victim of the financial meltdown. NerdWallet is the Kayak for credit card search, and seeks to become the number one source for unbiased online credit card information. Here are more resources from NerdWallet:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/2010/six-wtf-credit-cards/">Six &quot;WTF?&quot; Credit Cards</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/2010/chase-freedom-dont-expect-your-reward-program-to-las/">Chase Freedom: Don't Expect Your Reward Program to Last</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/2010/online-credit-card-information-kinda-sucks/">Online Credit Card Information Kinda Sucks</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-chen">Tim Chen</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pitting-airline-against-hotel-rewards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards">5 Steps to Getting a Free (or Close to Free) Vacation in 9 Months or Less with Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">How Travel Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel airlines hotels rewards programs travel rewards Wed, 08 Sep 2010 12:00:10 +0000 Tim Chen 231427 at http://www.wisebread.com Make the Most of Your Business Expenses with Travel Rewards http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/make-the-most-of-your-business-expenses-with-travel-rewards <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/make-the-most-of-your-business-expenses-with-travel-rewards-thursday-bram" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/make-the-most-of-your-bus...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/make-the-most-of-your-business-expenses-with-travel-rewards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000010323374XSmall.jpg" alt="Business travel" title="Business travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>George Clooney's latest movie, <em>Up in the Air</em>, is about racking up frequent flyer miles. The main character explains how he's working his way towards earning 10 million miles:</p> <blockquote>I don't spend a nickel, if I can help it, unless it somehow profits my mileage account.</blockquote> <p>These days, getting frequent flyer miles are more helpful than ever. The airlines are charging more and running less flights, but the demands of a business traveler haven't gone down. Planning ahead for <a href="http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;218395891;41475468;y?http://www201.americanexpress.com/sbsapp/FMACServlet?request_type=alternateChannels&amp;lpid=300&amp;openeep=17460&amp;ccsgeep=17460">travel costs</a> can make a big difference on your bottom line.</p> <h2>Making the Most of Travel Rewards</h2> <p>When you're traveling on an employer's dime, building up miles can be a nice perk &mdash; a way to wind up with a few extra plane tickets without paying for them. But when you operate your own business, frequent flyer miles are more than a perk. They are an essential part of your travel planning.</p> <p>I have clients all over the world. Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Buenos Aires &mdash; if there's a good internet connection in town, chances are that I've worked with a client based in that city. I'm not alone, either. If you do any portion of your work online, you could be working with clients and vendors all over the world. That can make for plenty of traveling and when you add in conferences and other trips, you can really rack up the miles.</p> <p>If you can plan your travel schedule in advance, you can make the most of your travel rewards. You've probably budgeted in the trips that you absolutely have to take. You may have even set aside money for one or two last minute or not high priority trips. Getting some of those paid for by accumulated miles will help a lot. You may not even need to spend time in the air to ensure that you have enough miles to cover those flights.</p> <h2>Earning More Travel Rewards</h2> <p>As a business owner, there are some unique opportunities for adding to your mileage account. It's not just a matter of how many times you've flown, although that helps. Frequent flyer programs are loyalty programs, of course, so booking all your flights through one airline can help you earn some miles.</p> <p>But with the right card for your business, you can keep adding to that total. Many card companies have teamed up with airlines to offer perks like extra miles, and that includes ones specifically for businesses. For every dollar you spend with the card (even on nontravel items), you earn miles.</p> <p>If you're serious about earning free plane tickets, your business card can be an incredible opportunity. Think about every expense your business has in a week or a month. What if you paid all those bills with your business card? How many miles would you earn? Such a strategy could make a major difference in just how many trips you can make in the next year.</p> <h2>Other Uses for Travel Rewards</h2> <p>Of course, you aren't limited to paying for just airfare with frequent flyer miles. They can be used to get upgrades to better seats and sometimes you can even book hotels with your miles. George Clooney's character may have earned 10 million miles — but you only need to build up a few hundred thousand miles to get a free business class trip to Europe.</p> <script type="text/javascript"> federated_media_section = "platinum"; </script><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/make-the-most-of-your-business-expenses-with-travel-rewards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-13"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards">5 Steps to Getting a Free (or Close to Free) Vacation in 9 Months or Less with Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center Travel business rewards small business travel rewards Sun, 21 Feb 2010 00:17:12 +0000 Thursday Bram 4837 at http://www.wisebread.com