travel rewards http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12070/all en-US How to Get More Value From United Airlines Miles http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-more-value-from-united-airlines-miles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-more-value-from-united-airlines-miles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/united_airlines_boeing_747_airplane.jpg" alt="United Airlines Boeing 747 airplane" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>United Airlines is one of the largest carriers in the world, and it actually has a pretty good frequent flyer program. United's MileagePlus program offers award flights on a wide variety of partner airlines, and it's one of the few frequent flyer programs remaining that doesn't slap fuel surcharges or &quot;carrier imposed&quot; charges on any of its award flights.</p> <p>Nevertheless, the MileagePlus program has still suffered through numerous devaluations. This term refers to changes to the program that have increased the price of many popular award flights, while reducing the number of available award seats offered at the lowest mileage levels. These devaluations occur with nearly all frequent flyer programs, making it harder to find the best ways to redeem your miles for the most value. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Airline's Frequent Flyer Miles Have the Best Value?</a>)</p> <h2>Have a MileagePlus credit card</h2> <p>One of the biggest problems with most frequent flyer programs, including United's, is that there's a scarcity of award seats available at the lowest mileage levels. Thankfully, travelers with any of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-united-mileageplus-credit-card-should-you-get?ref=internal" target="_blank">United MileagePlus credit cards</a> receive expanded access to Saver level award seats (the cheapest seats in terms of points required) in economy class on flights operated by United.</p> <p>This little trick often makes the difference between finding available awards at the Saver level and being asked to pay double the miles to book the same seat at the Standard award price. To ensure that you see the expanded Saver award space, be sure to log into your MileagePlus account before you search for award flights. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-miles-and-points-for-a-big-award-trip?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Miles and Points for a Big Award Trip</a>)</p> <h2>Use the Excursionist Perk</h2> <p>The MileagePlus program used to offer one free stopover and two open jaws on award flights, but it no longer does. Instead, it replaced this feature with something unique that it calls the Excursionist Perk. This gives you a free one-way flight within a MileagePlus defined region when you book two or more one-way flights to and from that region.</p> <p>For example, if you book an award flight from San Francisco to Athens, and a return award flight from London to San Francisco, then you are entitled to a free, one-way flight within Europe. You could use that one-way flight to travel from Athens to London, or between any other two cities that United's program includes within its definition of Europe.</p> <h2>Look for short-haul economy Saver awards</h2> <p>It always seemed unfair that a very short award flight would cost the same amount of miles as a very long one within the same region. For example, a flight from Iceland to Cyprus would require as many miles as a short hop from Frankfurt to Munich.</p> <p>Now, United is offering reduced price international partner awards for nonstop flights of 800 miles or less. For example, a nonstop Lufthansa award from Frankfurt to Rome will cost only 8,000 miles. This gives you an affordable way to travel around a region using your miles.</p> <p>Within the United States, you can book Saver award flights of 700 miles or less for just 10,000 miles, rather than the usual 12,500 miles.</p> <h2>Find the sweet spots</h2> <p>Most frequent flyer programs offer a few sweet spots, which are routes that give you exceptional value for your miles. For example, Saver award flights within central and southern Africa are just 17,500 miles each way in economy and 30,000 miles each way in business or first class. Furthermore, you can redeem your United MileagePlus miles with its partners South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines, which both offer extensive service there.</p> <p>Another sweet spot are flights from North America to Central America. When you fly to Central America from anywhere in the mainland U.S., Alaska, or Canada, you pay only 17,500 miles each way for Saver awards in economy and 30,000 in first or business class.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-get-more-value-from-united-airlines-miles&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Get%2520More%2520Value%2520From%2520United%2520Airlines%2520Miles.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Get%20More%20Value%20From%20United%20Airlines%20Miles"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Get%20More%20Value%20From%20United%20Airlines%20Miles.jpg" alt="How to Get More Value From United Airlines Miles" width="250" height="374" /></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/how-to-get-more-value-from-united-airlines-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-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/how-to-use-rewards-for-summer-travel">How to Use Rewards for Summer Travel</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/which-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value">Which Airline&#039;s Frequent Flyer Miles Have the Best Value?</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/4-tools-that-help-you-find-free-award-flights">4 Tools That Help You Find Free Award Flights</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/3-flexible-ways-to-cash-in-your-miles-and-points">3 Flexible Ways to Cash In Your Miles and Points</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/6-easy-ways-to-get-free-travel">6 Easy Ways to Get Free Travel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel frequent flyer miles mileageplus rewards and points travel rewards travel tips United Airlines Thu, 19 Apr 2018 08:30:06 +0000 Jason Steele 2130212 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Use Rewards for Summer Travel http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-rewards-for-summer-travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-use-rewards-for-summer-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_in_hat_relaxing_on_beach.jpg" alt="Woman in hat relaxing on beach" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer is just around the corner, and for many people, that means summer vacations. If you haven't already booked your trip, now is a good time to do so. The longer you wait, the more money you'll typically have to spend.</p> <p>Thankfully, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">right travel credit card</a> can offer you rewards points or miles that can help you pay for your summer travel. But even with award bookings, it's important to plan early. Airlines often black out popular travel dates or make fewer award seats available during peak travel periods. You do have a few options, though. Here's how to get started with summer award travel booking.</p> <h2>Use the rewards you have</h2> <p>Look through all the rewards programs that you currently participate in and see if you have any points or miles that you can use for summer travel. This includes any frequent flyer miles, hotel points, or credit card rewards. Too often, people accumulate these rewards and then fail to use them. Furthermore, some rewards programs offer points and miles that expire when there is no account activity for a period of time, usually one to two years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-frequent-flyer-miles-that-are-about-to-expire?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Save Frequent Flyer Miles That Are About to Expire</a>)</p> <p>To better help you to use your existing rewards, consider combining them. For example, you could fly one airline to your destination using one kind of miles, and a different airline back home using your miles from another frequent flyer program. You can also have some people in your party use miles, and others pay with cash. In fact, you can select seats together, even if the travelers are booked on separate reservations.</p> <p>When it comes to using your rewards for free nights in hotels, there's no reason why you can't redeem your points for some nights, and pay cash for others. If you do this, you should price out each night to ensure that you are using your points for the most expensive nights, and paying the least amount of cash for the others. For example, on a recent trip to Las Vegas, I found that I was able to use my points during the week when there was large convention in town and the hotel was charging $300 a night. But on the weekend, the room rate was only $100. So, rather than use rewards for the less expensive weekend night, I paid with cash.</p> <h2>Get new rewards</h2> <p>One of the great things about travel rewards credit cards is how easy it is to get started. Most credit cards offer new applicants a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">generous sign-up bonus</a>, just to give their products a try. For example, a typical sign-up bonus for a frequent flyer mile card might be 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 within three months of opening the account. That can be enough for two round-trip domestic flights in economy class.</p> <p>Once you've met the card's minimum spending requirements, you will typically receive your sign-up bonus within a day or two of the date that your statement cycle closes. You are then free to spend your rewards on your summer vacation.</p> <p>Just note that it's best to use rewards credit cards only if you avoid interest charges by paying your statement balances in full. Rewards credit cards usually have higher interest rates than similar cards that don't offer rewards, so if you need to carry a balance, you should use a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">low-interest credit card</a> that doesn't offer rewards.</p> <h2>Use credit cards that offer statement credits toward travel reservations</h2> <p>While airline frequent flyer programs usually offer the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value?ref=internal" target="_blank">best bang for your rewards buck</a>, sometimes you can't use your rewards miles because of the airline blackout dates and restrictions on award seats that we mentioned earlier. One way around that is to use a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-flexible-ways-to-cash-in-your-miles-and-points?ref=internal" target="_blank">flexible travel rewards credit card</a>. These are cards that offer reward points or miles that can be redeemed for statement credits against charges that are travel-related.</p> <p>You book travel the way you normally would &mdash; directly with the airline or hotel, or through a travel agent. Then, you have a certain amount of time, often 90 days, to redeem your points or miles for a statement credit that applies toward a specific travel charge. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/airline-credit-card-or-flexible-rewards-card-whats-the-best-way-to-earn-a-free-flight?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Airline Credit Cards Vs. Flexible Rewards Cards</a>)</p> <p>When you use one of these credit credit cards, it's even possible to book your travel before you have enough reward points in your account to cover the travel charge. Just remember that you may have to pay for your reservations, or incur interest charges, if you don't receive your miles during the same statement period that you booked your travel. On the other hand, when you book a hotel or rental car reservation that isn't prepaid, you only have to pay for it when you travel. This can give you additional time to earn the reward points or miles needed to pay for the trip.</p> <h2>Use a credit card that has its own rewards system and travel portal</h2> <p>Some travel cards offer their own proprietary rewards programs that allow you the choice of either transferring points to an airline or hotel program, or using the card's own travel reservation system to redeem points. The benefit of doing the latter is that, again, you can get around an airline's blackout dates and award restrictions. You may also get decent points valuations by using the card's booking portal &mdash; sometimes as high as 1.5 cents per point. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-evaluate-a-travel-program-for-the-best-rewards-redemption?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Evaluate a Travel Program for the Best Rewards Redemption</a>)</p> <p>If all of these options fail and you have to pay for your trip using real money, at least make sure you use a rewards credit card so you can earn points toward your next trip. Make sure you understand all the different ways you can earn points with different cards. For example, you might get double points for booking airline tickets with one card, but not another. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maximize-the-value-of-your-airline-miles-and-points?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Maximize the Value of Your Airline Miles and Points</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-use-rewards-for-summer-travel&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Use%2520Rewards%2520for%2520Summer%2520Travel.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Use%20Rewards%20for%20Summer%20Travel"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Use%20Rewards%20for%20Summer%20Travel.jpg" alt="How to Use Rewards for Summer Travel" width="250" height="374" /></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/how-to-use-rewards-for-summer-travel">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/how-to-get-more-value-from-united-airlines-miles">How to Get More Value From United Airlines 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/which-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value">Which Airline&#039;s Frequent Flyer Miles Have the Best Value?</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/3-flexible-ways-to-cash-in-your-miles-and-points">3 Flexible Ways to Cash In Your Miles and Points</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/6-easy-ways-to-get-free-travel">6 Easy Ways to Get Free Travel</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/4-tools-that-help-you-find-free-award-flights">4 Tools That Help You Find Free Award Flights</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel free travel frequent flyer miles rewards and points summer travel travel rewards travel tips Tue, 17 Apr 2018 08:30:09 +0000 Jason Steele 2131788 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Tools That Help You Find Free Award Flights http://www.wisebread.com/4-tools-that-help-you-find-free-award-flights <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-tools-that-help-you-find-free-award-flights" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/booking_flight_travel_traveler_search_reservation_holiday_page.jpg" alt="Booking flight travel traveler search reservation holiday page" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Earned a nice stash of points using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit cards</a>? Now comes the fun part. Or at least, it should be fun. You've got the potential to save thousands of dollars on airfare. But in reality, booking award travel can be a challenge.</p> <p>The airlines don't make it easy to search for available awards at the lowest mileage levels. Award searches on their websites are often slow, incomplete, and inaccurate, as they have little incentive to improve your chances of finding a free flight. And if you have points that transfer to miles with several different airlines, it can be difficult to search all of the possible options.</p> <p>Thankfully, there are third-party tools that can help you use your miles to reach your destination. Each provides functionality that's missing from the airlines' websites. First, we'll tell you about four tools, then we'll give you some tips for making award booking easier.</p> <h2>Expert Flyer</h2> <p><a href="https://www.expertflyer.com/" target="_blank">Expert Flyer</a> is a very powerful tool that can help you search award space across many different airlines. It's meant for travelers who want access to the data that the airlines conceal behind their clunky interfaces.</p> <p>You can set up a free account and get seat alerts that let you know when a particular type of seat is available on a flight for which you're already booked. This service can help if you're trying to move from a middle seat to a window or aisle on a full flight, but it doesn't go beyond that.</p> <p>Expert Flyer's real value comes with its pro subscriptions. For $4.99 per month, a basic subscription allows you 250 queries per month across 400 different airlines. You can search for award seats, upgrades, and revenue flights.</p> <p>The premium version is available for $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year and includes unlimited searches, and flight availability alerts that notify you when award space becomes available. It will also allow you to search for flights during a six-day period and to save queries for repeated use. You'll get access to a mobile app, too.</p> <h2>Award Nexus</h2> <p><a href="https://awardnexus.com/" target="_blank">Award Nexus</a> specializes in finding business and first class seats, or awards with complex routings. A free account is available for members of the online forums Flyer Talk and Inside Flyer (previously Milepoint), but it offers limited access.</p> <p>For more extensive access, the website offers three memberships, including premium basic for $59, premium advanced for $129, and premium expert for $249. Each level buys you a certain number of points. Each point is worth one search on one airline website for one day in one class of service.</p> <p>The tool allows you to specify which airline websites or alliances you'd like to search. You can search up to plus or minus seven days from a specific flight date. And you can get notifications when award seats become available. The main advantage of Award Nexus over Expert Flyer is that it includes more airlines, such as Cathay Pacific, which isn't included in Expert Flyer.</p> <h2>KVS Tool</h2> <p>The interface for the <a href="http://www.kvstool.com/" target="_blank">KVS Tool website</a> and the downloadable program it provides is ugly, and using the tool involves a learning curve. But for the frequent traveler, it might be worth the trouble and cost.</p> <p>The tool allows you to search for seats across each of the major airline alliances, as well as some independent airlines. Or at least, that's what the platinum and diamond memberships do. The platinum membership has limited award search capability and starts at $15 for two months, while the diamond package starts at $20 for two months. It includes about double the airlines of the platinum subscription, as well as a 30-day award availability power search and access to the mobile companion app.</p> <p>The main benefit of the KVS Tool over some of the other tools listed here is that it allows very detailed, comprehensive searches.</p> <h2>Award Hacker</h2> <p>Do you have credit card or other points with a program that allows you to transfer your points to a frequent flyer program? If so, it can be very difficult to sort through all the possibilities to find the best award.</p> <p><a href="https://www.awardhacker.com/" target="_blank">Award Hacker</a> is a free website that can help by listing all of the available awards from dozens of different frequent flyer programs, and the rewards programs that you can transfer from. For example, you might be able to transfer your Starwood Preferred Guest points to JAL and book an award ticket on an American Airlines flight for fewer miles than if you had transferred the miles to American itself.</p> <p>However, this tool doesn't tell you if a flight will have award seats available, or if the airline will impose an expensive fuel surcharge. It will only tell you the least number of miles needed for an award, if available.</p> <h2>Tips for finding award space</h2> <p>Beyond the tools listed above, we've got a few other tips for finding award flights.</p> <h3>Try searching yourself</h3> <p>While you can pay to use a tool, you could first try to search certain airline websites yourself. The trick is to understand which websites can best find award seats on the airlines in a particular alliance. There are three major airline alliances: Oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance.</p> <p><a href="https://www.oneworld.com/" target="_blank">Oneworld</a> includes 13 airlines, such as American Airlines, British Airways, and Qantas. American's website will search most, but not all of these carriers, so you might want to use the British Airways or Qantas websites to find award flights on the airlines that don't appear at AA.com.</p> <p><a href="https://www.skyteam.com/en" target="_blank">SkyTeam</a> includes 20 airlines, such as Delta, Air France, and Korean Air. The easiest website to search for award seats is the Flying Blue website of Air France, KLM, and others.</p> <p><a href="http://www.staralliance.com" target="_blank">Star Alliance</a> includes 28 airlines, such as United, Air Canada, and Lufthansa. United's website allows you to search most of these carriers' award flights, but never shows seats on Singapore Airlines. To fill in that gap, try the website for Aeroplan (Air Canada), ANA, or the Singapore Airlines site itself.</p> <p>Once you find award seats available on one carrier in an alliance, you should be able to call any carrier in the alliance and use its miles to book that flight. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maximize-the-value-of-your-airline-miles-and-points?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Maximize the Value of Your Airline Points and Miles</a>)</p> <h3>Be creative</h3> <p>There are ways to get around airline rules and limitations using creativity. For example, try searching not just from your home airport or to your preferred destination airport, but also to and from other airports within driving distance. You can even consider purchasing an inexpensive flight to an international gateway where you can find award seats. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-maximize-your-airline-mileage-redemptions?ref=seealso" target="_blank">More Tips for Maximizing Airline Points and Miles</a>)</p> <p>Another trick is to use miles from one airline for your flight out, and another for your flight back. And if you are traveling with multiple people, there will be a lot more options if you're willing to &quot;split the team&quot; by taking separate flights, as it can be very difficult to find several award seats on the same itinerary. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Tricks for Making the Most of Your Reward Miles</a>)</p> <h3>Get help</h3> <p>Even experienced award travelers can search for hours to find the right flights, and it can be nearly impossible for beginners to be successful at finding scarce award space. Instead of trying to do it themselves, many travelers prefer to use <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights?ref=internal" target="_blank">award booking services</a>. For a fee, you can hire a true expert to do all this searching for you and come up with the best options. Fortunately, most award booking services will only charge you when they can find a flight that meets your needs.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-tools-that-help-you-find-free-award-flights&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520Tools%2520That%2520Help%2520You%2520Find%2520Free%2520Award%2520Flights.jpg&amp;description=4%20Tools%20That%20Help%20You%20Find%20Free%20Award%20Flights"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20Tools%20That%20Help%20You%20Find%20Free%20Award%20Flights.jpg" alt="4 Tools That Help You Find Free Award Flights" width="250" height="374" /></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/4-tools-that-help-you-find-free-award-flights">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/which-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value">Which Airline&#039;s Frequent Flyer Miles Have the Best Value?</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/6-easy-ways-to-get-free-travel">6 Easy Ways to Get Free Travel</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-get-more-value-from-united-airlines-miles">How to Get More Value From United Airlines 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/how-to-use-rewards-for-summer-travel">How to Use Rewards for Summer Travel</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-get-more-value-from-delta-air-lines-skymiles">How to Get More Value From Delta Air Lines SkyMiles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel award flights free flights frequent flyer miles travel miles travel rewards travel tips Fri, 13 Apr 2018 08:30:06 +0000 Jason Steele 2129953 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Calculate the Value of Your Credit Card Rewards http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-calculate-the-value-of-your-credit-card-rewards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-calculate-the-value-of-your-credit-card-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_buying_online.jpg" alt="Woman buying online" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Earning credit card rewards is a great way to offset the cost of purchases you already make. But it's worth calculating just how much those rewards are worth if you have to pay an annual fee on the credit card, or are trying to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-streamline-your-travel-rewards-strategy?ref=internal" target="_blank">streamline your rewards strategy</a> to focus on one or two cards that are most valuable for you.</p> <p>While it may seem easy to dismiss all credit cards that charge an annual fee, many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees?ref=internal" target="_blank">annual-fee credit cards</a> are well worth the price of the fee. The trick is to figure out the value of a card's rewards and benefits <em>for you</em>. When you know how much the card is worth to you, then it can be easier to decide whether to keep it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-decide-if-an-annual-fee-credit-card-is-worth-it-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Decide if an Annual Fee Credit Card Is Worth It for You</a>)</p> <h2>How to calculate the value of rewards</h2> <p>Credit cards offer rewards in the form of points, miles, or cash back. The value of cash-back rewards are the easiest to calculate, and many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash-back credit card</a> issuers list the total cash-back rewards that you've earned during the last year on your statements or elsewhere in your online account.</p> <p>But it's more complex to calculate the value of the points or miles you've earned. To do so, you need to look at what you've been able to redeem them for in the past, or what you could redeem them for in the future. For example, you could look at the value of merchandise or gift card options available with a particular rewards program. Typically, these options will return a value of one cent per point, or perhaps less.</p> <p>In particular, merchandise awards often max out at a value of one cent per point or mile, and that's based on the product's full retail price. Since you can often find products discounted in some way, you should base your valuations on the best price that you can find, rather than the full manufacturer's suggested retail price. In fact, even gift cards are often available to buy at below face value.</p> <p>Next, you should subtract the value of the rewards you could have earned by paying for that purchase on a rewards card, rather than redeeming your points and miles for it.</p> <p>When it comes to awards you earn with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit cards</a>, the process is somewhat similar, but less exact. Usually the best you can do is to get a ballpark figure for the dollar value of points or miles you've cashed in previously. For instance, if you took an award flight to Hawaii in July, 2017, use Expedia or your favorite travel booking site to look up the price of flights in that same class of service in July, 2018. Do the same for any hotel stays you've used rewards for. If you haven't used any travel points yet, you could estimate their value by looking up the dollar price for a flight or hotel stay you'd like to take in the future using those points. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-credit-cards-have-the-best-travel-redemption-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Credit Cards Have the Best Travel Redemption Value?</a>)</p> <p>Again, the next step is to subtract the value of the credit card rewards you could have earned from your credit card, as well as any frequent flyer miles or hotel points that you could have received by paying for your flight or hotel room with a card instead of points or miles.</p> <h2>Estimating the value of your credit card perks</h2> <p>In addition to reward points or miles, many credit cards offer valuable benefits that can also be worth paying an annual fee for. For instance, some airline credit cards offer checked baggage fee waivers that can be very valuable, especially if you're traveling with family. However, they are only valuable to travelers who wouldn't have received that benefit any other way, such as by earning elite status with the airline.</p> <p>Other valuable benefits may include <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-free-airport-lounge-access?ref=internal" target="_blank">airport business lounge access</a>, and elite status with hotel or rental car programs, or credit toward elite status with an airline. Also, credit cards may offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-is-your-credit-cards-travel-insurance-good-enough?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel insurance</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-reasons-to-always-use-your-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">purchase protection policies</a>. If you have actually taken advantage of those perks, then you can add the estimated value of those benefits into your calculation. For instance, you could look up the price of travel insurance you would have had to pay for if you hadn't had the credit card perk.</p> <p>Finally, many premium travel reward credit cards now come with annual statement credits toward travel reservations, airline fees, and the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-that-offer-tsa-pre-check-and-global-entry-reimbursement?ref=internal" target="_blank">application fees for Global Entry and TSA Precheck</a>. It's fairly easy to add up the value of these benefits and include them in your calculation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Travel Perks You Didn't Know Your Credit Card Had</a>)</p> <h2>Figuring out how much the credit card is worth</h2> <p>Once you have an accurate estimate of the value of a card's rewards and benefits, then you can subtract that amount from its annual fee to determine its net benefit to you. However, just because the card's benefits outweigh its annual fee, doesn't mean that the card is worth keeping. You have to judge the card based on its net benefits compared to the value of a similar <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-no-annual-fees?ref=internal" target="_blank">card that doesn't have an annual fee</a>, as well as other competing cards that do have annual fees.</p> <p>Finally, you have to look at how you use the card. If you're in the habit of carrying a balance on your card, then you are paying interest charges each month. In that case, your first priority should be to pay off your debt and avoid interest charges. Forget about earning rewards until that's done.</p> <p>To save money on interest charges while paying off your debt, you can use a card that doesn't offer rewards, which will almost always have a lower interest rate than similar cards that have rewards. You might even want to transfer your balance to a card with a promotional <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% balance transfer APR</a>.</p> <p>When you take the time to calculate all of the costs and benefits of your reward cards, then you can decide if the card is worth keeping and where it fits into your overall rewards-earning strategy.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-calculate-the-value-of-your-credit-card-rewards&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Calculate%2520the%2520Value%2520of%2520Your%2520Credit%2520Card%2520Rewards.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Calculate%20the%20Value%20of%20Your%20Credit%20Card%20Rewards"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Calculate%20the%20Value%20of%20Your%20Credit%20Card%20Rewards.jpg" alt="How to Calculate the Value of Your Credit Card Rewards" width="250" height="374" /></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/how-to-calculate-the-value-of-your-credit-card-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-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/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The 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/how-to-ease-into-credit-card-rewards-after-debt-repayment">How to Ease into Credit Card Rewards After Debt Repayment</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/6-things-to-consider-before-making-a-big-purchase-for-rewards-points">6 Things to Consider Before Making a Big Purchase for Rewards Points</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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards calculating rewards credit card rewards credit card tips rewards and points travel points travel rewards Thu, 05 Apr 2018 08:30:10 +0000 Jason Steele 2124620 at http://www.wisebread.com How Professional Award Bookers Can Get You Free Rewards Flights http://www.wisebread.com/how-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_traveler_doing_selfie_in_the_international_airport.jpg" alt="Young traveler doing selfie in the international airport" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Racking up airline points by flying or using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit cards</a> is fairly easy, but redeeming them for award flights can be more challenging. It can be hard to find available award seats using the airline's search functions, and it takes time to pore over multiple partner airlines' websites and consider different routing options.</p> <p>Thankfully, there are services that can help you get the most value out of your reward points and miles. For a fee, you can hire a professional award booker to find and book your award, saving you not only time, but sometimes points worth hundreds of dollars.</p> <h2>The challenges of award booking</h2> <p>When you have reward points or miles with a single airline, at first it might seem like a straightforward process to redeem those miles for an award flight. When in fact, it can be difficult, confusing, and time consuming. First, you might try to use the airline's website. However, these websites may not show most of the airline's partner award flights.</p> <p>For example, the American Airlines AAdvantage program only allows you to redeem miles online for flights on American and seven of its partners. That leaves over a dozen other airline partners that you can only call to book, including Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, LATAM, and Etihad Airways. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-more-value-out-of-american-airlines-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Get More Value Out of American Airlines Miles</a>)</p> <p>But even if the airline claims to show all partner awards, its website might not actually display what you are looking for. For example, some airlines will only show itineraries with a certain number of connections. If your itinerary requires you to make more connections than the website will display, then you will be unable to book your award online.</p> <p>And if you do call the airline to get help with award booking, you will often reach indifferent customer service agents who may have little training and even less incentive to spend time on the phone helping you redeem your points and miles.</p> <p>This task becomes exponentially more complex when you're trying to redeem reward points in a flexible program that allows transfers to multiple airline partners. For example, one credit card rewards program lets you transfer your points to miles with nine different airline programs, while another has 16 different transfer partners. The Starwood Preferred Guest program has over 30 airline transfer partners. When you consider that each one of these frequent flyer programs can have over a dozen redemption partners, the award travel possibilities are overwhelming.</p> <p>Finally, booking an award flight can be extremely time consuming. I've been seriously collecting points and miles for more than 10 years, and have redeemed my miles for dozens of award flights for myself, my family, and my friends. I've also researched and written hundreds of articles on credit card rewards and award travel.</p> <p>And yet when I have to book an award, I can spend hours searching various websites, piecing flights together, and calling the airlines to book them. If it takes someone like me that long to book an award flight, imagine what it's like for the average traveler.</p> <h2>How award booking companies work</h2> <p>I have several friends who offer award booking services, and they have two advantages that I lack. They have access to numerous programs and websites that help to automate airline award searching. Sometimes these programs grant special access to the airline reservation systems and can return far more accurate and comprehensive results than the airlines' consumer facing websites do. Other services simply query multiple airline websites and aggregate the results in a more helpful format. Some of these services are available to the general public, but for a fee, that's rarely worth it for most occasional award travelers.</p> <p>In addition, professional award bookers have invaluable experience that they can draw on. These are hard-core travel geeks who have memorized airline award charts and flight routes, and instinctively know how to redeem the fewest points for the best flights. Many award bookers even know how to instruct airline customer service representatives to use their systems to book awards that the agents weren't trained to do.</p> <h2>How to work with an award booking company</h2> <p>To get started with an award booking company, you will typically have to fill out a form or have a telephone consultation in which you list the points and miles you have, where you are trying to go, and the dates you are willing to travel. Award booking companies are great, but they are not miracle workers. Therefore, you'll have the best results when you can specify a range of possible dates, and you'll do even better if you offer alternate departure airports or destinations.</p> <p>To have the award booking service ticket your itinerary, you will also have to give them your frequent flyer numbers and login information. Once you submit your information, you can expect the process to take at least a day or two before you are presented with proposed itineraries for your approval.</p> <p>Most award booking companies charge clients only when they are able to find an acceptable itinerary. The prices vary but you can usually expect to pay between $100 and $200 per person. For example, Gary Leff runs <a href="http://bookyouraward.com" target="_blank">Book Your Award</a> and charges $185 per person. He got started in the business in 2009 after getting many reader questions about award booking on his travel blog, View From The Wing. His service has since been written about in Condé Nast Traveler, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, and many other publications.</p> <p>Leff specializes in helping people secure premium cabin international award seats, which are often the most valuable use of your points and miles. &quot;Digging into the minutiae of airline partners and frequent flyer program rules isn't for everyone,&quot; Leff says. &quot;And you can't always just enter where you're starting from and where you're going and get all of the options for your trip from your frequent flyer program's website.&quot;</p> <p>Ari Charlestein runs <a href="http://www.awardmagic.com" target="_blank">Award Magic</a>, which charges $179 per person for one-way and round-trip awards, and $279 per person for multi-destination and round-the-world awards. When Charlestein was in college, he met someone who flew to Australia each year in business class with miles. He recalls thinking, <em>You're telling me these miles that my parents wasted to go skiing in Colorado, we could have used to fly to Australia in business class?</em> When he told his friends and family that he could help them book award flights, and they told their friends, he started doing this on the side, and later went full-time.</p> <p>Typically, his clients reach out to him through his website and schedule a phone call. He then goes through every possible routing and airline, looking for the best combination. For example, he could help you use credit card points to transfer to Virgin Atlantic to redeem for a flight operated by Japan's ANA airline.</p> <h2>Should you use an award booking company?</h2> <p>For most travelers, it makes sense to at least try to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maximize-the-value-of-your-airline-miles-and-points?ref=internal" target="_blank">book an award yourself</a>, especially if it's a simple itinerary. There are lots of tips and tools to help you along the way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Tips to Making the Most of Your Reward Miles</a>)</p> <p>But once you've tried and failed to find award space at the lowest mileage levels, and you are feeling overwhelmed, then it might be the time to seek professional help. This is especially true if you're looking for an international flight in a premium cabin, or if you'd like to make multiple stops on your trip. By paying an award booking service a few hundred dollars, you can save the time and aggravation necessary to book an award trip that might be worth thousands.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520Professional%2520Award%2520Bookers%2520Can%2520Get%2520You%2520Free%2520Rewards%2520Flights.jpg&amp;description=How%20Professional%20Award%20Bookers%20Can%20Get%20You%20Free%20Rewards%20Flights"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Professional%20Award%20Bookers%20Can%20Get%20You%20Free%20Rewards%20Flights.jpg" alt="How Professional Award Bookers Can Get You Free Rewards Flights" width="250" height="374" /></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/how-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights">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/5-travel-splurges-that-are-worth-every-penny">5 Travel Splurges That Are Worth Every Penny</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/6-pitfalls-when-chasing-travel-rewards">6 Pitfalls When Chasing Travel 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/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The Best Travel Reward 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/how-to-get-a-great-seat-on-southwest">How to Get a Great Seat on Southwest</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-bring-your-pet-onboard-a-flight">How to Bring Your Pet Onboard a Flight</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Travel award bookers credit card rewards flight booking travel budget travel rewards travel tips Tue, 03 Apr 2018 08:30:13 +0000 Jason Steele 2124242 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Overwater Bungalows You Can Book With Rewards Points http://www.wisebread.com/5-overwater-bungalows-you-can-book-with-rewards-points <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-overwater-bungalows-you-can-book-with-rewards-points" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-480927090.jpg" alt="affordable overwater bungalows" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Nothing says luxury travel quite like an overwater bungalow. These freestanding hotel rooms, which often sit just feet above some of the clearest waters in the world, are one of the most sought-after lodging options available.</p> <p>These are no ordinary thatched roof huts. Many feature huge, luxurious rooms with private splash pools, sundecks, and butler service. Opulent overwater bungalows are iconic to the South Pacific and Maldives, but you'll also find them in Malaysia, Central America, and the Caribbean.</p> <p>The obvious downside of overwater bungalows is the price. Depending on where you stay, you could easily pay $1,000 or more per night.</p> <p>The good news is you can book some overwater bungalows with rewards from some of the biggest <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-best-hotel-rewards-programs?ref=internal" target="_blank">hotel loyalty programs</a>, many of which have co-branded credit cards that help you rack up rewards quickly. If you don't like those options, there are other ways to cover your overwater vacation with credit card points.</p> <p>To be sure, most of these bungalows require more points than a regular hotel room. But if you've accumulated a healthy stack of points, it may be worth blowing them on these dream accommodations.</p> <p>Here are some of the overwater bungalows you can book with rewards.</p> <h2>Conrad Maldives Rangali Island</h2> <p>The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is a Hilton property that's world-renowned for its luxury accommodations. This property sits in the middle of the clear waters of the Indian Ocean, flanked on all sides by amazing water and sea life, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, and dramatic beach views. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-amazing-travel-destinations-you-thought-were-unaffordable?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Amazing Travel Destinations You Thought Were Unaffordable</a>)</p> <p>A beach villa or basic overwater villa starts at 95,000 Hilton Honors points per night, while overwater villas with special amenities and views can cost a lot more. In May of this year, for example, a &quot;retreat&quot; water villa with lagoon views, a whirlpool, a sundeck, and a spa treatment room would set you back 308,000 Hilton Honors points per night. The cash price for overwater villas typically starts at over $500 per night, but can surge to nearly $1,000 per night during peak travel times.</p> <p>Hilton Honors members with Gold or Diamond status may also be able to book a regular room and be upgraded to an overwater bungalow, though Diamonds would get preference for those upgrades. Fortunately, you can get elite status with several different Hilton credit cards.</p> <p>Keep in mind, however, that just getting to the Maldives can be pricey, and you need to book an expensive private boat transfer or seaplane to get here. The round-trip seaplane transfer offered through the Conrad costs $500 per adult and $250 per child under 12, for example.</p> <h2>Conrad Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa</h2> <p>The Conrad Bora Bora Nui Resort and Spa offers spectacular sea views, a supreme location in Bora Bora's lagoon, and a wide range of room options. Whether your goal is simply taking in the views, snorkeling with sharks or stingrays, or relaxing with one of the resort's spa treatments, you won't be disappointed by this property's location or amenities.</p> <p>You can also book your stay with points, starting with a King Garden View Suite for 80,000 Hilton Honors per night. An overwater bungalow will typically cost you a lot more points (overwater bungalows in March started at 408,000 Hilton Honors points per night), but you could potentially score a free upgrade if you have elite status with Hilton. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amazing-destinations-you-can-go-to-with-rewards-points-and-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Amazing Destinations You Can Visit With Rewards Points and Miles</a>)</p> <h2>Book any overwater bungalow you want</h2> <p>In addition to these options from the major hotel brands, certain flexible <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel credit cards</a> that offer travel credit make it easy to book any lodging option you want, including overwater bungalows. Cards like these allow you to redeem points you've earned for either a statement credit that you can use to pay for a travel purchase, or for reservations that you book using the card's travel portal.</p> <p>Often, you'll be able to use your points at a value of around a penny a piece, meaning that a $400 room will cost 40,000 points. Some cards offer even better redemption rates.</p> <p>If you decide to book an overwater bungalow using flexible travel credit, you can score some that require fewer points than those in the pricey overwater bungalow havens like the Maldives, Bora Bora, and Moorea. Take the Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu, for example, which offers overwater bungalows with a king bed starting at $296 per night. Or consider the Pangkor Laut Resort in Malaysia. Here, you'll find overwater bungalows that start in the $400 per night range.</p> <p>You can save even more by booking a resort closer to home. There are many overwater options you could book with flexible travel credit that don't require days on a plane or ridiculous nightly rates.</p> <h2>Anthony's Key Resort, Roatan, Honduras</h2> <p>Roatan Island sits squarely in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Honduras, which is in Central America. That means getting there from the U.S. takes a lot less time and usually costs less than flying to Bora Bora or the Maldives.</p> <p>In addition, you can find hotels that offer overwater accommodations for a fraction of the price of those in far-flung locations. Anthony's Key Resort is a family-owned hotel that offers wooden bungalows perched over a tranquil lagoon. Although it doesn't have much of a beach, it does feature scuba and snorkel packages in what is considered one of the best diving locations in the Caribbean. A 400-square-foot &quot;Key Deluxe&quot; villa with Honduran hardwood finishings, a cozy hammock, and a private covered deck starts at $539 per night.</p> <h2>St. George's Caye Resort, Belize</h2> <p>Another option closer to home is St. George's Caye Resort in Belize. Situated on a private island in the Caribbean, this resort is reachable after taking a short boat ride from Belize City. Fortunately, you can fly many airlines into Belize, including discount carrier Southwest Airlines.</p> <p>This property features a small footprint, with only 12 thatched cabanas and three private suites, making it ideal for seclusion or romance. All room rates include airport transfers, as well as unlimited use of kayaks, windsurf boards, Hobie Cat sailboats, stand-up paddle boards, snorkel gear, and a free introductory scuba lesson in the pool. Overwater cabanas, which feature a private porch, hammock, and spectacular sunset views, start at just $139 per person, per night. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-travel-big-on-a-tiny-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Ways to Travel Big On a Tiny Budget</a>)</p> <h2>Azul Paradise Resort, Panama</h2> <p>You'll also find luxury overwater bungalows in the Central American country of Panama. Azul Paradise Resort offers deluxe bungalows with a king bed, Wi-Fi, proximity to the rainforest, and a full wraparound deck with a hammock starting at $425 per night for two adults.</p> <p>The 500-square-foot overwater space makes it easy to enjoy your own nautical paradise without staying too far away from attractions like the Ngobe Bugle Indian Village and local wetlands, and adventure activities like zip-lining, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and sailing.</p> <p>Whether you're using flexible travel points or points specific to a particular hotel chain, the cheaper the overwater bungalow you book, the fewer points you'll need to cover your stay. As with any other type of travel, shopping around for the best deal can help you stay in an overwater bungalow at a price you can afford.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-overwater-bungalows-you-can-book-with-rewards-points&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Overwater%2520Bungalows%2520You%2520Can%2520Book%2520With%2520Rewards%2520Points.jpg&amp;description=5%20Overwater%20Bungalows%20You%20Can%20Book%20With%20Rewards%20Points"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Overwater%20Bungalows%20You%20Can%20Book%20With%20Rewards%20Points.jpg" alt="5 Overwater Bungalows You Can Book With Rewards Points" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-overwater-bungalows-you-can-book-with-rewards-points">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/5-laid-back-girls-trip-destinations-anyone-can-afford">5 Laid-Back Girls&#039; Trip Destinations Anyone Can Afford</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/9-ways-to-travel-big-on-a-tiny-budget">9 Ways to Travel Big on a Tiny Budget</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/8-affordable-us-destinations-for-a-weekend-getaway">8 Affordable U.S. Destinations for a Weekend Getaway</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/how-a-family-of-4-can-book-a-disney-vacation-for-1000-or-less">How a Family of 4 Can Book a Disney Vacation for $1,000 or Less</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-budget-destinations-where-you-can-learn-to-scuba-dive">5 Budget Destinations Where You Can Learn to Scuba Dive</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel affordable travel destinations overwater bungalow rewards points saving money travel rewards travel tips tropical getaway Tue, 20 Mar 2018 09:30:17 +0000 Holly Johnson 2121233 at http://www.wisebread.com Which Airline's Frequent Flyer Miles Have the Best Value? http://www.wisebread.com/which-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/which-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-649524042.jpg" alt="which airlines have the best frequent flyer miles" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you understand the concept of foreign currencies and their value when converted to U.S. dollars, you can understand the idea of trying to place a value on rewards points that you earn from various loyalty programs. Each airline's &quot;currency&quot; is worth so much in dollars and cents. Knowing that value can help you decide which airline rewards programs to concentrate your efforts on, or determine whether an award flight is a good deal given how many points it will cost you.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the trend in recent years has been for the major airlines to devalue their points in various ways. But that doesn't mean it's not worth collecting them. Travelers can still find great deals by using frequent flyer miles to score free flights. And if you have a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">co-branded airline credit card</a>, that can help you rack up points even faster.</p> <h2>Valuing points and miles is complicated</h2> <p>On the surface, it's not that difficult to come up with a value for an airline's rewards points. A point or mile is only worth as much as what you can redeem it for. To assign a value to your miles, you need to look at what kinds of flights you can redeem them for, how many miles are required, and how much you'll have to pay in additional taxes and fees. For any particular flight, you would look up the cash price of the flight and subtract the cost of the taxes and fees that you'd have to pay to use your miles. Next, you can divide this amount by the number of required miles for that flight to reach the value per mile.</p> <p>But it's a little more complicated than that. You also have to take into account the availability of award seats at the lowest mileage levels. For example, airlines might publish an award chart that lists business class flights to Australia for a certain number of miles. This could be an extremely good use of your miles, but if they almost never make award seats available at that price, you can't really use that award as an example of how much your miles could be worth.</p> <p>That's what makes points valuations more of an art than a science. There are a number of factors that make up the typical value of a rewards point, and valuations won't be the same for any two people. It is nevertheless helpful to figure out rough estimates of points values to serve as a rule of thumb when evaluating your options.</p> <p>Over the last 10 years, I've spent a tremendous amount of time researching and booking award flights on behalf of myself, my friends, my family members, and people who pay me for this service. Here are my estimates of the value of the points and miles from the major domestic frequent flyer programs.</p> <h2>American Airlines AAdvantage</h2> <p>American Airlines AAdvantage was one of the first frequent flyer programs ever created. One of its strengths is its competitive <a href="https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-program/miles/redeem/award-travel/flight-award-chart.jsp" target="_blank">award chart</a>, which shows a fairly reasonable number of miles required for MileSAAver awards (the lowest mileage tier) on some popular routes. MileSAAver flights generally require fewer points than other types of award flights, which tend to be more flexible.</p> <p>For example, the chart shows MileSAAver award flights in economy class to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean for just 30,000 miles, round-trip, which compares favorably to many of the airline's competitors. Business class awards to Europe are only 115,000 miles, round-trip, and American even offers off-peak MileSAAver awards to some destinations that can be a real bargain. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-american-airlines-us-airways-credit-card-should-you-get?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which American Airlines Credit Card Should You Get?</a>)</p> <p>However, there are two problems with the current American Airlines AAdvantage program. First, the airline has dramatically curtailed the availability of MileSAAver award flights in recent years, especially on intercontinental business and first class flights. If you are saving your American Airlines miles to fly a long distance in the front of the plane, you are likely to be disappointed when you try to redeem them.</p> <p>Next, American's primary international partner, British Airways, can impose large fuel surcharges on its award flights. These fuel surcharges, which were rebranded as &quot;carrier imposed charges&quot; after fuel prices retreated to historic lows, can add hundreds of dollars to the price of an award ticket. It can sometimes cost more to redeem your miles than it would to just buy a ticket. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-british-airways-points-on-us-flights?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use British Airways Points on U.S. Flights</a>)</p> <p>Therefore, I consider American Airlines miles to be worth about one to two cents each for economy class travel, and only about two to three cents each toward their extremely scarce first and business class award seats. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-more-value-out-of-american-airlines-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Get More Value Out of American Airlines Miles</a>)</p> <p><strong>Valuation: </strong><br /> 1&ndash;2 cents per point for economy class.<br /> 2&ndash;3 cents per point for premium class seats.</p> <h2>Delta Air Lines SkyMiles</h2> <p>Booking award travel with Delta can be frustrating. About three years ago, Delta took the unprecedented step of removing its award chart from its website. How many miles does Delta charge for award seats? You'll never know until you search the website for one particular flight, and the price you get could be anything.</p> <p>Sometimes they offer award seats for very few miles, but often these are short flights that are being heavily discounted anyway. On the other hand, it's not uncommon to see Delta offering premium class international awards for the outrageous price of several hundred thousand miles, each way. But occasionally, Delta offers &quot;sales&quot; where you can receive better value from your miles. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-delta-skymiles-credit-card-has-the-best-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Delta SkyMiles Credit Card Has the Best Value?</a>)</p> <p>When you redeem your miles for partner awards, it can sometimes still be possible to receive a decent value in cents per mile. Unfortunately, Delta miles are typically worth little more than one cent each toward most flights, and possibly as much as two cents each toward some partner flights. However, the sheer unpredictability and unaccountability of the SkyMiles program makes earning these miles a very poor investment.</p> <p><strong>Valuation: </strong><br /> 1 cent per mile on most flights.<br /> 2 cents per mile on some partner flights.</p> <h2>United MileagePlus</h2> <p>United's MileagePlus program is not immune to the frequent devaluations that affect other airline programs, but at least United publishes its <a href="https://www.united.com/web/en-US/apps/mileageplus/awards/travel/awardTravel.aspx" target="_blank">award chart</a> and notifies customers well in advance of any changes.</p> <p>The strengths of this program include its 28 Star Alliance partners, including Air Canada, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Austrian, ANA, and Air China. Furthermore, all of these partners are searchable online and award availability can be excellent.</p> <p>But when it comes to award availability on United flights, you can sometimes find a decent amount of economy class seats, but fewer seats in business class. However, with the right credit card you can receive additional access to the lowest priced award seats. Therefore, I'd value United miles at around 1.5 to 2 cents each for economy class domestic flights, and 3 to 4 cents each for seats in international business class. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-united-mileageplus-credit-card-should-you-get?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which United MileagePlus Credit Card Should You Get?</a>)</p> <p><strong>Valuation: </strong><br /> 1.5&ndash;2 cents per mile on domestic economy.<br /> 3&ndash;4 cents per mile on international business class.</p> <h2>Southwest Rapid Rewards</h2> <p>Southwest operates what is called a revenue-based program, which means that it closely ties the number of miles required for an award ticket to the price of the flight. Rapid Rewards points are consistently worth 1.4 to 1.7 cents each for flights in its lowest fare class, called &quot;Wanna Get Away.&quot; But if you need to use your points to purchase tickets from one of their higher fare classes, &quot;Anytime&quot; or &quot;Business Select,&quot; you'll receive much less value per point. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-domestic-frequent-flyer-program-southwest-airlines-rapid-rewards-premier-credit-card?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card</a>)</p> <p><strong>Valuation:</strong><br /> 1.4&ndash;1.7 cents per mile for Wanna Get Away fares.<br /> 1.1 cents per point towards Anytime fares.<br /> 0.95 cents per point for Business Select.</p> <h2>JetBlue</h2> <p>JetBlue's TrueBlue frequent flyer program is revenue based, much like Southwest's. However, the value of JetBlue points will vary between nearly 1 cent each and about 1.8 cents. In general, you are more likely to get more value per point from international flights as well as those in their premium class, which they call &quot;Mint.&quot; You can also expect to receive about 1.5 cents in value from JetBlue's vacation packages.</p> <p><strong>Valuation:</strong><br /> 1&ndash;1.8 cents per mile for domestic economy.<br /> 1.5 cents per mile for JetBlue vacation packages.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhich-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhich%2520Airline%2527s%2520Frequent%2520Flyer%2520Miles%2520Have%2520the%2520Best%2520Value_.jpg&amp;description=Which%20Airline's%20Frequent%20Flyer%20Miles%20Have%20the%20Best%20Value%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Which%20Airline%27s%20Frequent%20Flyer%20Miles%20Have%20the%20Best%20Value_.jpg" alt="Which Airline's Frequent Flyer Miles Have the Best Value?" width="250" height="374" /></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/which-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value">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/4-tools-that-help-you-find-free-award-flights">4 Tools That Help You Find Free Award Flights</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/3-flexible-ways-to-cash-in-your-miles-and-points">3 Flexible Ways to Cash In Your Miles and Points</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-get-more-value-from-united-airlines-miles">How to Get More Value From United Airlines 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/why-you-should-sign-up-for-airline-rewards-even-if-you-dont-travel-much">Why You Should Sign Up for Airline Rewards Even If You Don&#039;t Travel Much</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-get-more-value-out-of-american-airlines-miles">How to Get More Value Out of American Airlines Miles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel airline miles frequent flyer miles travel miles travel rewards travel tips Mon, 12 Feb 2018 09:30:10 +0000 Jason Steele 2102253 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Streamline Your Travel Rewards Strategy http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-streamline-your-travel-rewards-strategy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-streamline-your-travel-rewards-strategy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel_planning_on_computer.jpg" alt="Travel planning on computer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Rewards programs are meant to encourage loyalty. In an ideal world, you could join just one mileage program that would reward you for every single transaction you make, from flights to credit card purchases to restaurant meals. With that kind of set up, many of us could achieve elite status without even trying.</p> <p>But in the real world, it's pretty much impossible to join only one program that rewards us for everything we buy. That means that if you are a dedicated rewards collector, you'll have to join more than one program. However, you don't want to actively use <em>too </em>many programs. If you spread your earnings too thin, chances are you'll lose track of points you've accrued, or they'll simply expire before you ever get enough of them to redeem.</p> <p>Most of us only have so much time and attention to devote to tracking our miles and points. But how to know which ones to focus on? Here are some considerations.</p> <h2>1. Choose your next destination</h2> <p>It's almost summer camp sign-up season, which means I really need to decide on my next international destination ASAP. Why are these two things related?</p> <p>Well, major expenses like camp fees are good opportunities to quickly reach the minimum spend required by most credit card bonus offers. But you don't want to sign up for just any new card. You want to figure out which new card can get you to your chosen destination.</p> <p>When I'm planning a trip, the first thing I do is plug my starting point and destination into Google Flights and take note of what airlines fly from Point A to Point B. That way, I can look at offers for cards and programs that could get me flights on one of those airlines.</p> <p>My next frequent flyer trip will probably be a family vacation to France. For that reason, I won't be focusing on accumulating miles for Hawaiian Airlines or Southwest Airlines right now, because neither of them fly into Paris.</p> <h2>2. Note what destination you visit again and again</h2> <p>If you are more like my parents, who don't travel internationally but visit the San Francisco area about twice a year, this also plays into your rewards program strategy. If this is your situation, you may want to focus on the awards program for the airline you typically take, and look for ways to get more points within that program. My parents already have credit cards for their preferred airline, but I showed them that they could earn more points by making online purchases through the airline's shopping portal and by registering their cards with the airline's dining program.</p> <h2>3. Take stock of points you already have</h2> <p>Before you apply for any new credit cards, online shopping programs, dining programs, etc., do an inventory of all the programs you hold points in. If you have the choice of two airlines to get to your desired destination, and you already have one-third of the needed miles in a frequent flyer account for that airline, you're better off looking for opportunities to earn more of those miles, rather than starting fresh with the other airline.</p> <p>When surveying your rewards programs, also take note of exchange partners. For instance, the large card-issuing banks and several hotel programs allow you to transfer points into certain airline programs. If you are able to combine points from various programs, you may realize you're a lot closer to getting that award seat than you thought.</p> <h2>4. Watch for temporary bonus increases and special deals</h2> <p>Like department stores offering sales, credit cards vary the number of bonus miles they offer for new sign-ups. Since you generally can't apply for the same credit cards and still get the sign-up bonuses over and over, it pays to apply only when you're getting a good deal, like 60,000 sign-up points instead of 40,000. Check mileage blogs such as One Mile at a Time, which keeps a list of the hottest card deals each month.</p> <h2>5. Once you've decided on an airline, look for additional earning opportunities</h2> <p>Say you want to accumulate a lot of a certain airline's miles, so you apply for a co-branded credit card and immediately earn 40,000 bonus miles. What next? I already mentioned that online shopping and dining programs are opportunities to increase the amount of miles you're earning.</p> <p>Another tactic is to find out if the same program offers credit card products besides the one you already have. Many airlines offer a basic and a premium card, with varying annual fees; you can usually get both. If you and your spouse are working together toward a trip, don't forget you can each get a separate account in your own name, reaping your own sign-up bonuses.</p> <p>Better yet, you can often get bonus miles for referring one another as new members. If you have a small business, look for a business card within the same rewards program; you may be able to get the business card in addition to the consumer card.</p> <h2>6. Watch for promotions on the cards you already have</h2> <p>I recently received an emailed offer &mdash; which I had to click to register for &mdash; to get three miles for every dollar spent on certain categories on one of my airline cards. This is a card I have sitting in a drawer and rarely use, but now that I'm signed up for this promotion, I'll get it out and use it on those categories. A good way to remember which cards to use for which purchases is to label the card with a marker or sticker.</p> <p>Some programs offer ongoing promotions that last the whole year; if you're going for one of these, keep an eye on the calendar. For instance, if you accrue 110,000 points on Southwest Airlines' Rapid Rewards program in a calendar year, they'll give you a free companion pass for the entire following year. My sister-in-law earned this award by putting all household spending on a single Southwest-branded card, starting early in the year. I didn't do as well. A couple years ago, I applied for a new Southwest credit card toward the end of the year, and realized only after the year had ended that I was only about 10,000 points away from earning the companion pass. It's clearly a better idea to start working toward such a large goal in spring than it is in late fall.</p> <h2>7. Cancel or &quot;drawer&quot; cards that have stopped paying off</h2> <p>Once you've reaped the sign-up bonus for a new credit card, take a hard look at what the card can do for you from here on out. Some cards offer an annual bonus of miles or a free hotel night, while others only offer one mile per dollar spent.</p> <p>If the card charges an annual fee but doesn't offer much in the way of ongoing rewards, once I've reaped the sign-up bonus, I call to cancel. Sometimes when I call, I'm offered a new ongoing reward, such as an additional bonus if I spend a certain amount within the next few months.</p> <p>If the card doesn't charge an annual fee but isn't going to offer continuing rewards, I may keep it, but relegate it to the drawer. That way, I don't have to flip through 10 different credit cards in my wallet every time I want to pay for something, but the account is still open.</p> <p>Why not cancel? Well, two components of a credit score are the average age of accounts and the amount of credit you have available to you. So if the card isn't costing me anything, I'd rather let it languish in a drawer, quietly bolstering my credit score, rather than cancel it.</p> <h2>8. Use up orphan miles</h2> <p>When you do that survey of your current miles and points holdings, you may discover an account here and there that only has spare change rattling around in the bank. Maybe you flew that airline just once, or spent most of your points and forgot about the last 2,000. Take this opportunity to clean out those accounts before the miles expire. Since you probably don't have enough points for a flight, consider a miles for magazines offer, or see if you can transfer the points to a program you use more often.</p> <h2>9. Watch for bigger rewards for bigger commitments</h2> <p>If you feel like you're spending too much time applying for new cards, or if you worry about putting too many new accounts on your credit record, avoid smaller bonuses and look for cards that offer a large bonus for a large commitment. Typical bonus offers are in the range of 40,000 to 60,000 miles, or points for a minimum spend of $1,000 to $3,000. But for the past few months, I've been putting my expenses on a card that pays a 75,000-point bonus for $10,000 in spending in the first year. I've appreciated being able to take a break from applying for new cards, while still being able to work toward a bonus.</p> <h2>10. If it's all too much, consider scaling down to one all-purpose card</h2> <p>Maintaining multiple rewards accounts is not for everyone. It's a geek pursuit for people who really want to maximize the value they get for their spending. If you have multiple frequent flyer accounts, a bank-based rewards account, and two hotel loyalty programs, you may find yourself unable to keep up.</p> <p>One solution is to drop them all in favor of a single cash-back card, since cash is accepted everywhere. Another option is a rewards card that offers the option to redeem points for travel on almost any airline via a branded portal.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-streamline-your-travel-rewards-strategy&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Streamline%2520Your%2520Travel%2520Rewards%2520Strategy.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Streamline%20Your%20Travel%20Rewards%20Strategy"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Streamline%20Your%20Travel%20Rewards%20Strategy.jpg" alt="How to Streamline Your Travel Rewards Strategy" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-streamline-your-travel-rewards-strategy">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/how-to-save-money-on-flights-using-fare-alerts">How to Save Money on Flights Using Fare Alerts</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-overwater-bungalows-you-can-book-with-rewards-points">5 Overwater Bungalows You Can Book With Rewards Points</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-understanding-airline-flight-routes-can-score-you-better-rewards">How Understanding Airline Flight Routes Can Score You Better Rewards</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/how-to-get-a-great-seat-on-southwest">How to Get a Great Seat on Southwest</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-turn-your-wedding-expenses-into-a-free-honeymoon">How to Turn Your Wedding Expenses Into a Free Honeymoon</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel booking flights booking travel loyalty programs reward programs travel rewards travel tips Fri, 09 Feb 2018 09:30:05 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2100530 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Ways to Use Up Travel Rewards Points and Miles http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-use-up-travel-rewards-points-and-miles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-ways-to-use-up-travel-rewards-points-and-miles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/smiling_woman_working_on_a_laptop.jpg" alt="Smiling woman working on a laptop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>To get the most value from travel rewards programs, it's often best to save up for a big trip. But sometimes you need to use up a smaller amount of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-frequent-flyer-miles-that-are-about-to-expire?ref=internal" target="_blank">points before they expire</a>, or before you close the credit card account associated with the program. Or if it's taking you a long time to save up, you may want to use the points up before the program devalues the points, which happens often in the travel rewards world.</p> <p>Here are eight ways you can use up your remaining points and miles, and still get something valuable in return.</p> <h2>1. Points plus cash awards</h2> <p>While you might not have enough reward points or miles for an award flight or for a free night's stay, many hotel programs and some airlines allow you to use a small amount of points or miles toward your reservation, and pay for the rest in cash. For example, the World of Hyatt program has a Points + Cash option that starts at just 2,500 points plus $50. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-credit-card-should-you-use-to-get-free-hotel-stays?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Credit Card Should You Use to Get Free Hotel Stays?</a>)</p> <h2>2. Transfer points to top off an account</h2> <p>What good are 2,000 frequent flyer miles when you need 25,000 for a round-trip airfare? If you also earn points in a transferable credit card rewards program, you can often make use of these small balances. For example, if you had 2,000 United MileagePlus miles, but plenty of points from a credit card that transfers points to United, you could transfer 23,000 credit card points to your United Account, and redeem all 25,000 miles for a round-trip, domestic award flight in economy class. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards That Transfer Points to Airline Miles</a>)</p> <h2>3. Consider one-way awards</h2> <p>If you don't have the 25,000 points needed for a round-trip flight, but you have 12,500 points in at least one account, you may still be able to use them for one-way reservations. For example, you could book an award with one airline out, and another back, or you could use an award one way, and cash the other. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Co-Branded Airline Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>4. Combine rewards among your own accounts or those of others</h2> <p>There are some reward programs that let you combine your points or miles between accounts. For example, some credit card rewards programs let you combine points between any of your accounts from that issuer, plus those of your spouse, domestic partner, or employees. Others allow you to transfer points to anyone with an account. JetBlue offers family pooling of its airline rewards, and Starwood lets any household members combine their points. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>5. Try Points.com</h2> <p>This is like a currency exchange company that deals with points and miles from different companies, instead of currencies from various countries. But where you might expect to pay a few percent commission when changing currencies, you're likely to take a major loss when moving your points and miles around. Nevertheless, it can be an attractive option when you are hoping to gain some value from points and miles you were never going to use. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Miles</a>)</p> <h2>6. Donate your points to charity</h2> <p>Many airline and hotel programs offer some way to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-sell-or-donate-your-airline-miles?ref=internal" target="_blank">donate rewards points to charity</a>, and often you can select which organization you would like to receive them. But unlike cash donations, you can't deduct anything from your taxes when you donate your points and miles.</p> <h2>7. Magazines</h2> <p>Many airline and hotel programs allow you to redeem your points and miles for magazine purchases, starting at around 500 points or miles. For example, the <a href="https://www.magsformiles.com/" target="_blank">Miles for Magazines</a> website offers you the chance to redeem your rewards from Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, Hawaiian, Spirit, and United.</p> <h2>8. Redeem for merchandise and gift cards</h2> <p>Most reward programs allow you to redeem your points or miles for merchandise and gift cards. If you have just a few miles left, this can be a great option. For example, most programs will allow you to redeem 2,500 points for a $25 gift card to a major retailer. Many programs also offer small purchases, such as media downloads, for less than 1,000 points. Finally, many programs will allow you to combine cash and points for a merchandise or gift card reward, allowing you to receive at least some value for your leftover points or miles, no matter how few. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-biggest-mistakes-you-can-make-when-redeeming-credit-card-rewards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 7 Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Redeeming Credit Card Rewards</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-ways-to-use-up-travel-rewards-points-and-miles&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Ways%2520to%2520Use%2520Up%2520Travel%2520Rewards%2520Points%2520and%2520Miles.jpg&amp;description=8%20Ways%20to%20Use%20Up%20Travel%20Rewards%20Points%20and%20Miles"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Ways%20to%20Use%20Up%20Travel%20Rewards%20Points%20and%20Miles.jpg" alt="8 Ways to Use Up Travel Rewards Points and Miles" width="250" height="374" /></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/8-ways-to-use-up-travel-rewards-points-and-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/which-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value">Which Airline&#039;s Frequent Flyer Miles Have the Best Value?</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/4-tools-that-help-you-find-free-award-flights">4 Tools That Help You Find Free Award Flights</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-overwater-bungalows-you-can-book-with-rewards-points">5 Overwater Bungalows You Can Book With Rewards Points</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/9-travel-destinations-for-introverts">9 Travel Destinations for Introverts</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-handle-world-travel-with-your-family">How to Handle World Travel With Your Family</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel affordable travel flight miles saving money on flights travel miles travel points travel rewards travel tips Fri, 19 Jan 2018 09:39:11 +0000 Jason Steele 2090383 at http://www.wisebread.com Your Travel Rewards Points Were Stolen. Now What? http://www.wisebread.com/your-travel-rewards-points-were-stolen-now-what <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-travel-rewards-points-were-stolen-now-what" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_sitting_in_front_of_working_computer.jpg" alt="Woman sitting in front of working computer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A few years ago, I logged on to the website of an airline mileage program to book a flight, only to find that my miles were gone. I called the airline in a panic, and was told that another customer must have given my frequent flyer number by mistake when booking their flight. The miles were soon restored to my account. No harm was done &mdash; except to my confidence in the system.</p> <p>In a time when two-factor authentication and complex passwords are required to conduct so many transactions, it's unusual that many airlines and points programs still allow you to book with rewards simply by giving your membership number over the phone. Booking online does require passwords, but with so many large-scale data breaches happening recently, many of our passwords have been compromised.</p> <p>So it's no big shock that cybercriminals have been monetizing stolen rewards points on the dark web by selling discounted trips, paid for with stolen points. In fact, some have even been so brazen as to set up travel agencies and travel portals, complete with photos from happy customers, security firm Flashpoint reports.</p> <p>Here's how you can protect your hard-earned points from sticky fingers.</p> <h2>Exercise &quot;password hygiene&quot;</h2> <p>If you haven't changed all your passwords recently &mdash; especially since Yahoo recently disclosed that <em>all 3 billion</em> of its accounts were hacked in 2013 &mdash; do it now. Make your new password longer and more complex. If you're not good at thinking up hard passwords, try a password generator like the one offered by <a href="https://lastpass.com/generatepassword.php" target="_blank">LastPass</a>. And keep updating your passwords about twice a year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Stop Making These 8 Risky Password Mistakes</a>)</p> <h2>Monitor your mileage accounts</h2> <p>I use <a href="https://awardwallet.com/account/list" target="_blank">AwardWallet</a> to keep track of how many miles I have in the dozen or so points accounts that I maintain for my family. Not only can I glance over all the accounts on the software's dashboard, but it actually sends me an alert when my totals change. So if a hacker used my frequent flyer miles to book a flight, I'd get an alert right away. There are other points tracking tools available as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Best Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Miles</a>)</p> <h2>Guard those account numbers</h2> <p>Most credit card companies have stopped printing your card number on every bill, but awards programs haven't gotten so guarded yet. I receive junk mail with my frequent flyer number on it, which is bad because mailbox theft is a common criminal tactic. You can ask your points programs to stop sending you junk mail, and you can also consider getting a locking mailbox to prevent this and other forms of identity fraud. Treat those numbers like the sensitive private information they are. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen?ref=seealso" target="_blank">18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen</a>)</p> <h2>Don't log onto your points account on a public Wi-Fi connection</h2> <p>Most of us know not to use online banking while sitting in the airport, but we might not think twice about checking our mileage totals. Don't do it. Criminals can set up Wi-Fi connections that scrape users' data while they log in. Doing this at airports and hotels makes a lot of sense from the thief's point of view &mdash; if you want to find customers with a lot of miles, try the airport. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a>)</p> <h2>Beware of shifty agents and brokers</h2> <p>There are &quot;mileage brokers&quot; out there who have accrued large mileage totals, and who offer to book you discount flights which they will pay for with miles. Don't bite, because you have no way of knowing whether the miles they are using were acquired legally or stolen. As a personal rule, I wouldn't give my mileage or points account numbers to anyone I wouldn't hand my credit card to.</p> <h2>Contact the program immediately if you suspect a problem</h2> <p>If you aren't able to log onto your account, you might have just forgotten your password &mdash; or someone might have changed it. If you notice an unexplained password problem or any other mysterious activity, change your password immediately, and call the security team for your points program.</p> <p>They should be able to investigate whether there's been a breach, and they may be able to add extra security to your account, such as requiring a password for any reservation change, or adding two-factor authentication for logging in. As with all forms of identity theft, being proactive helps nip problems in the bud. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Don't Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fyour-travel-rewards-points-were-stolen-now-what&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FYour%2520Travel%2520Rewards%2520Points%2520Were%2520Stolen.%2520Now%2520What_.jpg&amp;description=Your%20Travel%20Rewards%20Points%20Were%20Stolen.%20Now%20What%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Your%20Travel%20Rewards%20Points%20Were%20Stolen.%20Now%20What_.jpg" alt="Your Travel Rewards Points Were Stolen. Now What?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-travel-rewards-points-were-stolen-now-what">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/how-to-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach">How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax Breach</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-protect-your-retirement-account-from-a-hack">How to Protect Your Retirement Account From a Hack</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-protect-your-child-from-identity-theft">How to Protect Your Child From Identity Theft</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/3-ways-millennials-can-avoid-of-financial-fraud">3 Ways Millennials Can Avoid Financial Fraud</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-freeze-your-credit">How to Freeze Your Credit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Travel fraud hacked identity theft miles passwords secure connections security breach travel rewards Fri, 12 Jan 2018 10:00:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2083333 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Pitfalls When Chasing Travel Rewards http://www.wisebread.com/6-pitfalls-when-chasing-travel-rewards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-pitfalls-when-chasing-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/travel_planning_concept_on_table.jpg" alt="Travel planning concept on table" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>By signing up for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel credit cards</a>, earning travel points through bonus offers and regular spending, and using your points in the smartest way possible, you can travel to far-flung corners of the world while minimizing out-of-pocket expenses. (See also: <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?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Steps to Getting a Free Vacation in 9 Months with Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>While this probably sounds intriguing and fun, and it is, there are so many nuances to this strategy that it&rsquo;s easy to get it all wrong. To be a pro, you need to know which types of travel currency to pursue, how to maximize your miles, and how to avoid the many pitfalls that come with using credit cards in general. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</a>)</p> <h2>1. Missing out on a sign-up bonus</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">Credit card sign-up bonuses</a> offer one of the easiest ways to earn points or miles in a hurry. Often, you can earn up to 50,000 hotel points or airline miles after meeting a minimum spending requirement in the $1,000&ndash;$5,000 range within three months. Sounds easy, right?</p> <p>Unfortunately, far too many people jumble the details along the way. Either they fail to meet the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-meet-a-rewards-card-minimum-spending-requirement?ref=internal" target="_blank">minimum spending requirement</a> because they mix up the dates, or they misread the fine print and don&rsquo;t spend enough.</p> <p>Either way, you&rsquo;ll want to avoid this mistake if you want to maximize the points and miles you earn. It helps to read the offer details and understand it inside and out before you take the plunge.</p> <h2>2. Failing to optimize</h2> <p>Failing to optimize is another common mistake many new travel hackers make. When you don&rsquo;t understand the details of individual rewards programs, it&rsquo;s easy to assume they&rsquo;re all the same. The thing is, not all travel programs are created equal &mdash; not even close. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Travel Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a>)</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a good example of failing to optimize: Let&rsquo;s say someone has 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points and needs to book a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles. Because they don&rsquo;t know any better, they might go ahead and book their flight through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for the current price, which happens to be 32,000 Chase points on that specific day.</p> <p>If they had dug a little deeper, however, they might find that you can often fly Southwest Airlines from Chicago Midway Airport into LAX for less than 13,000 points round trip. By transferring their points to Southwest instead of booking through the portal, they could have saved 19,000 points!</p> <p>The bottom line: Make sure you consider all your options before you use your points for travel. With some creative thinking and planning, you could find a much better deal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frequent-flyer-rules-to-go-farther-on-fewer-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Frequent Flyer Rules to Go Farther on Fewer Miles</a>)</p> <h2>3. Racking up credit card debt</h2> <p>Often, people who aren&rsquo;t financially sophisticated dive into the credit card rewards hobby without setting limits or expectations. Unfortunately, not having a plan for credit or never tracking your spending can easily lead down the winding road of credit card debt.</p> <p>To avoid debt and all the stress that comes with it, only use credit cards when you have a spending plan in place &mdash; and the discipline to pay your balance in full each month. If you wind up in debt, the rewards you earn will be wiped out by the credit card interest you&rsquo;ll pay each month.</p> <h2>4. Letting your points expire</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s crucial to make sure your hard-earned points don&rsquo;t expire before you&rsquo;ve had a chance to use them. While some programs like Delta SkyMiles and Chase Ultimate Rewards offer points that never expire, other travel currencies can expire if you don&rsquo;t &ldquo;earn or burn&rdquo; any points for 12&ndash;24 months.</p> <p>The best way to avoid expiring currencies is to know when your points will expire and enact a plan to &ldquo;restart the clock.&rdquo; Most of the time, it&rsquo;s fairly easy to save points by shopping through a loyalty shopping portal or spending even a handful of points. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-frequent-flyer-miles-that-are-about-to-expire?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Save Frequent Flyer Miles That Are About to Expire</a>)</p> <h2>5. Earning points without a plan</h2> <p>I can&rsquo;t tell you how many times I&rsquo;ve seen people earn points and miles without any type of plan at all. Sometimes they are pursuing a currency that won&rsquo;t even work with their travel plans. For example, I know one person who built up a giant stash of Southwest Rapid Rewards points for a trip to Europe, without ever realizing that Southwest doesn&rsquo;t fly to Europe. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choose-the-best-travel-rewards-credit-card-with-this-guide?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Choose the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card with this Guide</a>)</p> <p>The best way to get ahead in the game is to get strategic about the points and miles you&rsquo;re earning and why. Figure out where you want to go, then decide which travel currency will get you there. Better yet, pursue flexible travel currency like Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards. That way, you can earn all the points you want and decide how to use them later on. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Points</a>)</p> <h2>6. Waiting too long to book</h2> <p>While it&rsquo;s possible to book award travel right up to the last minute, anyone who has been in this hobby for a while will tell you it&rsquo;s better to book ahead.</p> <p>If you can book a flight six to nine months in advance, for example, you&rsquo;ll normally find more award availability than you will closer to departure. The same is true for hotels; since hotels have limited award availability, waiting too long to book can mean missing out. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Expert Tips for Redeeming Miles for Free Travel</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-pitfalls-when-chasing-travel-rewards&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Pitfalls%2520When%2520Chasing%2520Travel%2520Rewards.jpg&amp;description=6%20Pitfalls%20When%20Chasing%20Travel%20Rewards"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Pitfalls%20When%20Chasing%20Travel%20Rewards.jpg" alt="6 Pitfalls When Chasing Travel Rewards" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pitfalls-when-chasing-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-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">The 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/how-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights">How Professional Award Bookers Can Get You Free Rewards Flights</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-overwater-bungalows-you-can-book-with-rewards-points">5 Overwater Bungalows You Can Book With Rewards Points</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel credit card rewards credit cards saving money spending habits Spending Money travel rewards travel tips Tue, 17 Oct 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Holly Johnson 2037241 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards for Families http://www.wisebread.com/best-travel-rewards-credit-cards-for-families <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-travel-rewards-credit-cards-for-families" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-540611636.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Any parent knows that traveling with a family is expensive. The cost of multiple airfares, hotel rooms, and meals can be prohibitive. But a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=5x">good travel rewards card</a> can help. A few cards stand out because their earning policies and benefits are especially family-friendly. Here are the best.</p> <h2>Citi ThankYou<sup>&reg;</sup> Premier Card</h2> <p><img style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" class="img-exempt" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5169/CitiThankYouPremier.jpg" width="154" height="97" border="0" /><a style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;" target=" rel=" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=280&amp;pid=57&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xcardbutton"><img alt="" class="img-exempt img-button" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" /></a>The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=280&amp;pid=57&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xname" target="_blank">Citi ThankYou<sup>&reg;</sup> Premier Card</a> from our partner Citi is especially good for families that take road trips and other vacations, because it offers 3x points on all travel purchases, including gas. You can earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou<sup>&reg;</sup> Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Once you get to your destination, you'll receive 2x points on both dining and entertainment purchases, such as theme park admissions. You earn 1x points on everything else.</p> <p>ThankYou<sup>&reg;</sup> points can be redeemed for travel by transferring them to participating airline and hotel loyalty programs, or by using them to book airfare through the ThankYou<sup>&reg;</sup> Travel Center. When you choose the latter, your points are worth 25% more. You can also redeem ThankYou<sup>&reg;</sup> points for merchandise or gift cards. Best of all, you can share your points with family members and others at no additional cost.</p> <p>This card&nbsp;has a $95 annual fee that's waived the first 12 months, and no foreign transaction fees on purchases.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=280&amp;pid=57&amp;pp=2&amp;uv=xend" target="_blank">Click here to learn more and apply for the&nbsp;Citi ThankYou<sup>&reg;</sup> Premier Card today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Chase Sapphire Preferred&reg; Card</h2> <p><img style="float:right;margin:0 5px 5px 10px;" class="img-exempt" alt="" src="http://imgsynergy.com/product_creatives/ba2fd69185e37e845320284e895cb8ab.png" width="154" height="97" border="0" /><a style="border:none;float:right;clear:right;margin: 0 5px 5px 10px;" target=" rel=" href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=280&amp;pid=38&amp;pp=4&amp;uv=xcardbutton"><img alt="" class="img-exempt img-button" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/apply-now.png" /></a>The <a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=280&amp;pid=38&amp;pp=4&amp;uv=xname" target="_blank">Chase Sapphire Preferred&reg; Card</a> awards 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants and 1X point for each dollar you spend on other purchases. New cardholders can earn a bonus of 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening the account. This bonus can be worth $625 if you redeem your points through&nbsp;Chase Ultimate Rewards&reg;. Plus, you can earn 5,000 miles if you add an authorized user and make a purchase also within the first 3 months. You can redeem your points in many ways, but you can also transfer them to other loyalty programs at a ratio of 1:1. There is no foreign transaction fee. There is an introductory annual fee of $0 the first year, then $95.</p> <p><strong style="font-family: inherit; font-style: inherit;"><a href="http://ct.wisebread.com/click.php?pg=280&amp;pid=38&amp;pp=4&amp;uv=xend" target="_blank">Click here to learn more and apply for the&nbsp;Chase Sapphire Preferred&reg; Card today!</a></strong></p> <h2>Southwest Rapid Rewards&reg; Premier Credit Card from Chase</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-domestic-frequent-flyer-program-southwest-airlines-rapid-rewards-premier-credit-card">Southwest Rapid Rewards&reg; Premier Credit Card</a>&nbsp;makes perfect sense for families because Southwest is an extremely family-friendly airline. One of the biggest benefits is Southwest&rsquo;s open seating policy. While some people consider it a hassle to not have assigned seats, the arrangement is a boon for families, who on other airlines may have to pay extra to get seats assigned next to each other. Southwest even offers priority boarding for families traveling with small children. Southwest&rsquo;s fee policies are also good for families. Since all passengers can check two bags for free, families don't have to choose between paying to check baggage and lugging everything through the airport. And Southwest has no change fees, which comes in handy when the inevitable soccer game or school play is scheduled in conflict with the family vacation.</p> <p>When it comes to Southwest&rsquo;s Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program, families can&rsquo;t beat the Southwest Companion Pass. This perk allows you to add a designated companion to fly with you for free on unlimited paid or award flights. To receive a Companion Pass, you need to earn 110,000 points in a calendar year, and points earned through the credit card count. The pass is then good until December 31 of the following year. You&rsquo;ll earn double points for all Southwest purchases, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. There's a $99 annual fee for this card, but that&rsquo;s partially offset by the fact that you&rsquo;ll receive a 6,000 point bonus each year on your account anniversary.</p> <p><em>The information related to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier credit card has been collected by Wise Bread and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Best%20Travel%20Rewards%20Credit%20Cards%20for%20Families.jpg" alt="Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards for Families" width="250" height="374" /></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/best-travel-rewards-credit-cards-for-families">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/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The 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/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The Best 0% Balance Transfer 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-best-cash-back-credit-cards">The 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-secured-credit-cards">The Best Secured Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards best credit cards families travel rewards Tue, 04 Jul 2017 12:57:41 +0000 Jason Steele 1957908 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Low-Cost Travel Items That Can Save You Big On Your Next Trip http://www.wisebread.com/5-low-cost-travel-items-that-can-save-you-big-on-your-next-trip <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-low-cost-travel-items-that-can-save-you-big-on-your-next-trip" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-491647652.jpg" alt="Couple finding low-cost travel gear that can save them big" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Traveling can be great fun, but sometimes it requires a bit of creative thinking to figure out how to finance your next trip. Luckily there are some cost-effective purchases that can help you save money in the long run.</p> <h2>1. Tent</h2> <p>Camping can be a great alternative to staying in pricey hotels while you travel, but you will have to pay some one-time costs for a tent, sleeping bag, and a few other camping basics. You can purchase a light, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-tents?ref=internal" target="_blank">quality tent for under $150 on Amazon</a>. When you consider that is less than the cost of one hotel night in many places, you can see how quickly this investment will pay for itself.</p> <p>Having a tent also gives you the freedom to sleep in some of the world's most remote and beautiful places. Laws about where you can camp vary by location. For example, it's legal to camp on beaches in Mexico's Baja California, and it won't cost you anything. In the U.S., if you want to pitch your tent at an established campground, you'll usually have to pay, but you may be able to do primitive camping in some areas for free. Check with the U.S. Forest Service or state authorities in the area where you plan to camp. I've camped in many places in the world, and I've never paid more than $30. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-diy-air-conditioner-and-14-other-cool-camping-hacks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Cool Camping Hacks</a>)</p> <h2>2. Water filter</h2> <p>Bottled water can cost $1 or more. That's not expensive, but it can add up, especially if you're in a place where the tap water is not safe to drink.</p> <p>You can buy an easy-to-use and affordable filter that enables you to drink water anywhere you go. Not only will you save money on bottled water, but you can reduce waste by cutting down your consumption of plastic. It is eco-friendly and budget-friendly.</p> <p>There are a variety of water filters available. &quot;<a href="http://amzn.to/2n0ZTFA" target="_blank">Water straws</a>&quot; are lightweight and portable. This type of filter won't take up much space in your bag, and usually fits into a standard-sized water bottle. You can either bring your own empty bottle or purchase a cheap one at your destination to reuse.</p> <p>On a wilderness canoe trip through the Boundary Waters, Minnesota, I found a water straw indispensable. There were no roads or drinking water in the area, and bringing water along wasn't practical because it's heavy and would have taken up a lot of space in the kayaks. The best option was to filter water from the pristine lakes.</p> <p>Another option for treating water is to use iodine pills, which are cheap and easy to transport. However, the disadvantage of iodine is that you have to wait half an hour for the treatment to become effective, while with a water straw filter system, the water is ready to drink as soon as you've filtered it.</p> <p>There are also <a href="http://amzn.to/2n6RYs8" target="_blank">water bottles that have built-in water filters</a>, which can make filtering water even easier. The filters are only safe for a certain number of uses, but they are still economical compared to buying bottled water. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/packing-light-dont-forget-these-5-must-haves?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Travel Must-Haves</a>)</p> <h2>3. Luggage scale</h2> <p>A <a href="http://amzn.to/2neLJ5P" target="_blank">digital luggage scale</a> costs about $10 and can help you avoid paying costly overweight baggage charges at the airport. I've seen these charges run from $50 into the hundreds.</p> <p>Plus, these scales are light and easy to transport so you can bring them along on your trip. That way, when you're ready to travel home, you won't have to stress about the weight of any souvenirs or other items you accumulated while you were away. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-save-on-travel-gear?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Save on Travel Gear</a>)</p> <h2>4. Good shoes</h2> <p>Investing in a quality pair of shoes before your trip is a sure way to save money. If you can walk comfortably, you can avoid paying for expensive taxi cabs to get around once you reach your destination.</p> <p>Not only is walking a great way to save money, it will also help you stay active and better see the place you are visiting. When you're buying shoes, try to pick a pair that provides adequate support without being too heavy. You'll also want them in a design you genuinely like and a style that can go with most of your clothes. Buying shoes that are versatile means that you can pack a little lighter.</p> <p>Lems makes comfortable and incredibly portable travel footwear that I use and love.</p> <h2>5. Travel credit card</h2> <p>If you're already planning your next trip, now is a good time to sign up for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel credit card</a>. A good card will charge you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=internal" target="_blank">no foreign transaction fees</a>. That's the fee that some cards charge you for any purchases you make in another currency. It's usually around 3 percent, which means if you charge $1,000 on your trip, you'd have to pay an additional $30 in foreign transaction fees.</p> <p>By signing up for a travel credit card, you can also earn rewards for your next trip. Some credit cards offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">bonus points when you sign up</a> that are worth hundreds of dollars in travel. One sign-up bonus I got was so big that I have points left over after using it to purchase a round-trip flight from the United States to Mexico, and a domestic flight in Mexico. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-6-credit-card-sign-up-bonus-mistakes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Don't Make These Credit Card Bonus Mistakes</a>)</p> <p>Many travel cards also come with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=internal" target="_blank">money-saving perks</a> such as free checked bags on flights, free <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-car-rental-insurance-really-cover-on-your-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">rental car insurance</a>, free trip cancellation insurance and other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-types-of-travel-insurance-credit-cards-include-that-you-didnt-know-about?ref=internal" target="_blank">types of travel coverage</a>.</p> <p>The good news with a travel credit card is that you may not even have to &quot;purchase&quot; it at all. Many travel credit cards will waive their annual fee for the first year, as an additional incentive to get you to sign up.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div align="center"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-low-cost-travel-items-that-can-save-you-big-on-your-next-trip&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%20Low-Cost%20Travel%20Items%20That%20Can%20Save%20You%20Big%20On%20Your%20Next%20Trip.jpg&amp;description=5%20Low-Cost%20Travel%20Items%20That%20Can%20Save%20You%20Big%20On%20Your%20Next%20Trip" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <div align="center">&nbsp;</div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Low-Cost%20Travel%20Items%20That%20Can%20Save%20You%20Big%20On%20Your%20Next%20Trip.jpg" alt="5 Low-Cost Travel Items That Can Save You Big On Your Next Trip" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-low-cost-travel-items-that-can-save-you-big-on-your-next-trip">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/the-5-best-instant-tents">The 5 Best Instant Tents</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-5-best-backpack-tents">The 5 Best Backpack Tents</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/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The Best Travel Reward 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/should-you-go-on-vacation-while-youre-in-debt">Should You Go on Vacation While You&#039;re in Debt?</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> Travel camping filtered water shoes tents travel gear travel rewards Tue, 21 Mar 2017 10:31:12 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1913291 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Easy Ways to Get Free Travel http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-get-free-travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-easy-ways-to-get-free-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_69540947_LARGE.jpg" alt="travel the world for free" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A common misconception is that travel is expensive. But you may be surprised to learn that there are easy, accessible ways to score free travel that don't require you to be an expert travel hacker. In fact, most of them are fairly straightforward.</p> <h2>1. Get a Free Plane Ticket With Your Next Credit Card</h2> <p>If you're serious about getting free travel fast, you can do so in as little as 15 minutes, and it doesn't have to cost you a thing. There are many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal">travel rewards credit cards</a> that offer a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal">large sign-up bonus</a>. This bonus alone can be enough to cover a domestic round-trip ticket. If you wait a little longer, you can earn more points through purchases and get enough for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-redeemed-a-12000-family-vacation-with-credit-card-rewards-in-2-months?ref=internal">free international trip</a>.</p> <p>See also: <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?ref=seealso2">5 Steps to Getting a Free Vacation in 9 Months or Less with Credit Cards</a></p> <h2>2. Sail for Free</h2> <p>You can score a lot more than free flights. Many people who sail in the Caribbean or between Europe and the Americas are often looking for extra help to crew their vessels.</p> <p>You don't necessarily need to have experience. You just need to be willing to learn and spend a few weeks at sea. You will learn a valuable skill and have an unforgettable experience. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-accommodations-and-paid-jobs-on-boats?ref=seealso">How to Score Free Accommodations (and Paid Jobs) on Boats</a>)</p> <h2>3. Sleep for Free</h2> <p>Once you get to your destination (whether by a free flight or a free sail), there are some easy ways to get free accommodations. If you have a home, consider signing up for a home exchange program. This works especially well if you live in a desirable city, such as New York, or San Francisco.</p> <p>Services such as <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-10495603-1429299077000">Home Exchange</a> are well-regarded, and although you may have to pay a sign-up fee, you can save more than this initial fee in the free accommodations you will receive after signing up.</p> <p>For those who don't have an apartment or home to list, you can still find free accommodations in the form of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-for-landing-the-perfect-house-sitting-gig?ref=internal">house or pet sitting</a>. You can find house-sits throughout the world for different dates. If you are looking for a shorter stay, check out <a href="https://www.couchsurfing.com/">Couchsurfing</a>, which is ideal for a few days. You can connect with locals in the city you are traveling to and they will put you up for absolutely free.</p> <p>And finally, another great way to land free accommodation is by volunteering or staying in places such as ashrams and Sikh temples. Especially in India, you can volunteer your time cooking, cleaning, or being a yogi, and in exchange you'll get free room and board, plus an unforgettable experience.</p> <h2>4. Volunteer</h2> <p>Volunteer programs are available both on a short-term and long-term basis. Travel with the Peace Corps, United Nations, and ArtCorps for assignments that can last one or two years. <a href="http://www.wwoof.net/">World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms</a> connects you with farms all over the world that will host and feed you in exchange for a few hours of work on their farm daily. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/volunteer-to-travel-11-opportunities-for-free-or-very-cheap-travel?ref=seealso">11 Volunteer Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel</a>)</p> <h2>5. Travel by Foot or by Bike</h2> <p>If travel by plane or boat are not your cup of tea, consider walking or biking. You are guaranteed to have a memorable travel experience, while spending $0 on transportation costs. There are some amazing places in the world you can see by foot. You could hike the <a href="https://www.lonelyplanet.com/spain/travel-tips-and-articles/1467">Camino trail in Spain</a>. You can stay in hostels and refuges along the way, or you can bring your own tent, avoiding all accommodation costs as well.</p> <p>Bike trips are another way to eliminate the cost of transportation entirely. Tom Allen provides great resources for <a href="http://tomsbiketrip.com/planning-a-bike-tour/">planning a bike trip</a>. Usually you can buy a bike for very cheap and it will quickly pay for itself in the savings you'll make on busses, trains, or planes.</p> <h2>6. Start a Travel Blog</h2> <p>Starting a blog is easy, but building it up takes some time. However, if you learn how to start a travel blog and begin building your blog audience now, by this time next year, you could have a following that is actually worth something.</p> <p>Many hotels, tour operators and airlines will be keen to access your hard-earned audience, and they will often offer you free accommodation, trips, and flights in exchange for an honest review on your blog. I know from experience! I haven't had to pay for scuba dives, hotels, or tours in a very long time! This is technically more of an "exchange" than free travel, but it's pretty amazing staying in beautiful hotels and getting to share the experience with your readers.</p> <p>There are many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-that-anyone-can-travel-for-free?ref=internal">ways to travel for free</a>. All it takes is a little bit of thinking outside the box and some time. Remember that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/savor-your-trip-and-save-big-with-these-5-slow-travel-tips?ref=internal">traveling slow</a> is another way to save a lot of money. Consider what skills you have to offer and then remember that you can always barter those skills along the way instead of paying.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-easy-ways-to-get-free-travel&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%20Easy%20Ways%20to%20Get%20Free%20Travel.jpg&amp;description=6%20Easy%20Ways%20to%20Get%20Free%20Travel" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Easy%20Ways%20to%20Get%20Free%20Travel.jpg" alt="" width="250" height="374" /></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/6-easy-ways-to-get-free-travel">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/4-tools-that-help-you-find-free-award-flights">4 Tools That Help You Find Free Award Flights</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-use-rewards-for-summer-travel">How to Use Rewards for Summer Travel</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/earn-free-travel-sooner-with-these-frequent-flyer-mileage-secrets">Earn Free Travel Sooner With These Frequent Flyer Mileage Secrets</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/which-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value">Which Airline&#039;s Frequent Flyer Miles Have the Best Value?</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/3-flexible-ways-to-cash-in-your-miles-and-points">3 Flexible Ways to Cash In Your Miles and Points</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel free flights free travel frequent flyer miles frugal living travel rewards Tue, 30 Aug 2016 10:00:15 +0000 Nick Wharton 1782253 at http://www.wisebread.com Earn Free Travel Sooner With These Frequent Flyer Mileage Secrets http://www.wisebread.com/earn-free-travel-sooner-with-these-frequent-flyer-mileage-secrets <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/earn-free-travel-sooner-with-these-frequent-flyer-mileage-secrets" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_42077894_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="earning free travel sooner with these frequent flyer mileage secrets" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the biggest costs you will encounter when planning for travel is the transportation: airfare to and from your destination. That's where frequent flyer miles come in &mdash; an easy way to travel more and spend less. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-known-trick-to-getting-exclusive-travel-discounts-and-rewards?ref=seealso">Little Known Trick to Getting Exclusive Travel Discounts and Rewards</a>)</p> <h2>An Intro to Frequent Flyer Miles</h2> <p>Frequent flyer programs are nothing new. The <a href="http://www.economist.com/node/5323615">first airline loyalty program</a> of this type debuted in 1981, offered by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-american-airlines-us-airways-credit-card-should-you-get?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=travel">American Airlines</a>. Ever since, these programs have been gaining in popularity. Now nearly every major airline offers a frequent flyer program.</p> <p>Each program has its own set of rules but generally, if you sign up for their loyalty program, you can get points for purchases or other activities that you can then redeem for free flights. However, accruing enough points to get those free flights can take a long time, unless you know some of the secrets to getting more points, faster, so you can be on your way to your next vacation.</p> <h3>1. Loyalty Can Get You More</h3> <p>These programs aren't called loyalty programs for nothing. If you consistently fly with the same airline, you'll earn points and rewards toward a free flight faster than spreading your points across various airline programs. Rather than having 200 points with three different airline programs, you can have 600 with one, which should be enough for a free domestic flight.</p> <h3>2. Use a Co-Branded Credit Card</h3> <p>Once you've decided on your favorite airline, check their credit card options. Getting a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=travel">co-branded airline credit card</a> will allow you to get points for everyday shopping, not just when you book a flight. These credit cards usually come with great perks, like priority boarding, free checked bags, and discounts on in-flight purchases.</p> <h3>3. Make Your Frequent Flyer Miles Go Farther</h3> <p>Now that you've accumulated enough points, it's time for the fun part: redeeming them for free travel.</p> <p>Pay attention to how you redeem your points, to make them worth as much as possible. This means making a high-value trade-in for your points. Simply put, this means don't waste your points on something that would cost you a small amount in dollars. For example, a $300 round trip economy flight might cost 500 points. That's a $0.60 value you're getting from each point. But a $1,200 international flight might only cost 1,000 points. That would get you a $1.20 value for each point! So it could be worth your while to hold on to those points until you can get a large ticket item.</p> <p><em>What are some other ways to score free travel fast? Share with us!</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/earn-free-travel-sooner-with-these-frequent-flyer-mileage-secrets">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/6-easy-ways-to-get-free-travel">6 Easy Ways to Get Free Travel</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-use-rewards-for-summer-travel">How to Use Rewards for Summer Travel</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/which-airlines-frequent-flyer-miles-have-the-best-value">Which Airline&#039;s Frequent Flyer Miles Have the Best Value?</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/3-flexible-ways-to-cash-in-your-miles-and-points">3 Flexible Ways to Cash In Your Miles and Points</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-get-more-value-from-united-airlines-miles">How to Get More Value From United Airlines Miles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel free travel frequent flyer miles saving money travel on a budget travel rewards Fri, 26 Aug 2016 10:00:12 +0000 Nick Wharton 1779795 at http://www.wisebread.com