HomeFinanceYou Don't Have to Fly First Class to Enjoy Travel Rewards

You Don’t Have to Fly First Class to Enjoy Travel Rewards

The web could make it appear to be amassing factors and miles — achieved primarily via a journey rewards bank card — is just for probably the most spectacular amongst us. And actually, individuals who spend hundreds of {dollars} on lavish procuring sprees do have a tendency to rack up journey rewards for swanky “free” first-class airfares to (and presidential resort suites in) probably the most ostentatious of locations.

But even if you happen to’re extra frugal than Benjamin Franklin, you possibly can profit from chasing journey rewards. In truth, you is likely to be greatest suited to profit from the pursuit of factors and miles.

Rewards can fund journey to weddings and graduations that you simply hate to pay for out of pocket. They can snag you free breakfasts. They can unlock reductions and exemptions, like waived resort charges and free checked baggage.

Even if you happen to’re not a high-rolling, first-class worldwide vacationer, journey rewards can nonetheless profit you. Here are different widespread sorts of vacationers — price range, occasional, household and {couples} — and technique solutions for every on how to use journey rewards.

Budget vacationers

Would you fairly your factors cowl one first-class journey or 10 primary financial system journeys? With journey rewards, you possibly can have it both manner. While the ritziest Instagrammers would possibly proclaim the previous, placing miles towards price range airfares is typically wiser.

Get a robust worth in your factors

Airlines like Southwest and JetBlue command an identical factors worth whether or not you’re redeeming them for a higher-class airfare or the bottom, primary economy-type fare. Frugal vacationers who prioritize dozens of free flights over one fancy flight with free champagne and lie-flat seats can maximize journey rewards simply as properly.

Book on factors to keep away from paying resort charges

Unlock much more reductions with longer stays

Some resorts provide extra reductions for reserving on factors. For instance, Hilton Honors members with no less than Silver Elite membership obtain the fifth night time free when reserving on factors.

Marriott has an identical coverage, as does IHG.

Use bank card advantages to get free meals in airports

Don’t overlook the opposite money-saving advantages that bank cards can give you: Credit playing cards with airline lounge entry can save frequent vacationers tons of of {dollars} in overpriced airport meals, as most airport lounges provide complimentary espresso, alcohol and lightweight snacks. Some even serve full meals.

Get via safety quicker (with out paying for it)

Meanwhile, a bank card that covers the price of TSA PreCheck, Global Entry or a Clear membership not solely saves you the appliance payment, but in addition saves you time ready within the safety and immigration strains.

Occasional vacationers

Occasional vacationers can likewise profit from journey rewards. If you don’t journey usually, you in all probability don’t want to prioritize transit-specific perks, like airline lounge entry or TSA PreCheck. It will not be value it to you to pay for these luxuries out of pocket or to get their prices reimbursed through a premium bank card (which implies hefty annual charges).

Look for no-annual-fee journey playing cards

Avoid international transaction charges

Apply for a card that doesn’t cost international transaction charges, that are sometimes up to 3% of your buy while you pay in a international foreign money.

That’s not the sort of payment you need to see in your financial institution assertion after your worldwide trip.


Having sufficient factors to guide award journey for greater than two vacationers at a time would possibly appear to be a difficult endeavor, however with the proper bank cards and a laser deal with family-friendly perks, you could possibly be lining up important journey financial savings earlier than that subsequent household trip.

Use free checked bag advantages

If you hate being slowed down by baggage whereas balancing your child, you is likely to be extra probably to test baggage. Free checked baggage are among the many perks that include elite standing and/or a premium journey bank card.

It’s not unusual to discover airline bank cards with annual charges of $100 or much less that supply free checked baggage for you — and generally your complete celebration.

Go for the free breakfast

Free breakfast is not only an apparent cash saver for households, but in addition a time and stress saver too.

  • Have picky-eater children who can’t sit nonetheless at a table-service restaurant? Then the resort breakfast the place your tot can have their alternative of cereal is likely to be a lifesaver.

  • Have hassle wrangling all the kids right into a automobile to drive someplace to eat? Have them head down to the foyer breakfast at any time when they’re prepared.

Travel rewards can unlock automated elite standing with resorts that supply free breakfast as an elite standing perk.


In some ways, {couples} have twice the alternatives to earn journey rewards.

Look for complementary bank cards

So, if one half of the couple earns transferable rewards, whereas the opposite earns on a branded resort or airline bank card, they will maximize alternatives for incomes and redeeming rewards.

Consider a Companion Pass

Don’t overlook attempting to earn a Southwest Companion Pass, a coveted perk that enables you to designate one individual to fly with you without spending a dime other than taxes and charges, which begin at $5.60 a technique. You can earn that both by flying Southwest a ton or by spending on sure Southwest bank cards.

While not as in depth because the limitless companion fares you could possibly earn on Southwest, different airline bank cards provide companion tickets as a profit to cardholders. Some of these companion tickets give you a totally free ticket on a flight you have already booked for your self, whereas others enable you to guide a ticket for a buddy at a steep low cost.

The backside line

If you’re a budget-conscious traveler who normally simply books journey after recognizing a low-cash deal, you would possibly truly be lacking out on even higher offers.

Booking journey on factors and miles can unlock even deeper reductions — not solely charges decrease than their value in money, but in addition the possibility to keep away from annoying prices like resort charges. Throw in advantages like free breakfast, lounge entry, safety membership and a Companion Pass, and also you’re saving huge cash on belongings you’d in any other case have to pay for — so long as you play your playing cards proper.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You desire a journey bank card that prioritizes what’s essential to you. Here are our picks for the greatest journey bank cards of 2021, together with these greatest for:



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