For years my husband traveled all around the world for his job. In fact, one year he was gone 240 days out of the year and he wasn’t deployed!
While it was terrible to have him gone so frequently, we decided to make the best of it and maximize his frequent flyer and hotel points and use the points and miles earned on family trips.
A few years later, I met a guy who traveled everywhere and was able to do it on a very limited budget. He managed to find great deals on airfare and hotels and combine those great deals with miles earned from his credit card purchases.
Now this guy wasn’t extravagant, he was buying the things we all normally buy – groceries, gas, clothes, etc. He also wasn’t one of those folks who tried to hack the system, he simply found a credit card that gave him the maximum benefits and tried to fly on the same airline and stay at the same hotel chain when he traveled.
If you want to travel for less, you’ll want to find the best credit card to maximize your benefits.
If you read the fine print of many credit card promotions you’ll find that many of them have a cap on how much you can earn. If you use your card for everything and pay it off every month (like we do) you’ll end up hitting your benefit limit very quickly. Find one like the Discover it® Miles card that does not limit the amount of miles you can earn in a year.
Black out dates
I remember once I earned two round trip tickets to anywhere in the United States. When I tried to book a trip, there were only a few dates/ flights I could choose from and none of them worked with our schedule.
I was never able to redeem my free trip because there were so many restrictions on when we could travel. Make sure your card does not have any travel date restrictions so you can travel in the off season when lodging is cheaper.
Also, while many airlines and hotels offer their own credit card, I prefer a card that can earn benefits no matter who you fly or where you stay. Even better, the Discover it Miles card allows you to earn 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent, not just when you are paying for travel. That means you earn Miles on groceries, manicures, school books and anything else.
Some rewards cards have spending requirements that you must meet before you can earn your points. Make sure the card you are using either does not have a requirement, or it is small enough that you can hit it easily.
You don’t want to spend money to save money, if you know what I mean.
No annual fee
I’m not a big fan of paying to use a credit card. If you aren’t either, make sure the card has no annual fee. Annual fees can be as much as $100 a year, so make sure you read the fine print before you apply.
Make sure the credit card you use has additional perks as well. It could be online bill pay, better customer service, no foreign transaction fee, or double miles in your first year.
The year my husband spent traveling for work helped me realize that we don’t need to pay full price for vacations anymore! In the past six years, we’ve paid for our family hotel rooms less than five times.
When you start planning your summer vacation, make sure you are getting the maximum benefits for your credit so you can travel for less too!