There’s only one thing better than to travel: it’s to travel for free!
If you have a travel rewards credit card, then you might already be sitting on a vacation you didn’t know you had.
Many credit cards will award you points whenever you make a purchase, and they can add up. Hello Italy!
How to Travel For Free
Depending on the rewards program offered by the credit card, it may take a different number of points to get to the same destination. You may also get different perks from certain credit providers, such as hotel stays.
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a travel rewards card, such as point bonuses for spending at certain types of venues, and sign-up bonuses. However, you should also take annual fees into consideration.
Your credit card statement will typically reflect how many points you’ve earned. In many cases, you book an eligible flight (make sure to check first). Then you can apply the points against the flight when your bill comes in.
The trick to redeeming points is to get the best value you can. That means you should calculate how much per point a flight will cost you with some relatively simple math. Bottom line, some points are worth more than others.
There are some flights that may cost you more points during peak season than other times of the year, which is another thing to watch for.
However, in some cases, it might actually make more sense to choose a cashback option instead of redeeming points. Some credit cards allow you to redeem points for travel or for cash, while others are exclusively a cashback program.
The trick is to find the card that offers the highest percentage of cash back, with the lowest annual fees.
You can determine the value of cash back vs points to decide which is a better route for you. If you’re not a frequent flyer, then choosing cashback may be a better option because you can use the bonus for groceries or a meal at a restaurant rather than a flight. Or you can use that cash back to buy gas for a road trip instead.
But if you’re flying somewhere every few months and staying in hotels, then the travel reward programs might make more sense for you.
Put Your Points to Work
Okay, so you’ve just realized you have thousands of travel points and you’re excited. Find out from your credit provider which airlines or hotels you can use your points to travel for free, and then get booking!
Remember, even if you don’t have enough points to cover an entire trip, you can still use them to cover a portion of the flight in most cases. That should be enough incentive to get you to use up your vacation time.
Redeeming reward points is a pretty simple process that you can complete online or over the phone. So what are you waiting for? Grab your camera, your passport and explore somewhere new thanks to rewards credit cards.