How to Accumulate Points to Redeem for Free Vacations
If you’re looking for a less expensive method to satiate your wanderlust or you want to offset the expense of your next family vacation, a credit card that offers travel points is a terrific tool to have in your pocket. You can redeem these points for everything from free flights to merchandise. If you use your credit card frequently enough, you’ll be able to rack up enough points to cover the cost of your next vacation. The following is essential information regarding the use of credit cards that offer travel points:
How to Acquire Reward Points
There are a variety of different ways to earn rewards with travel credit cards, but all of them share one feature in common: making transactions earns you either points or miles. To get the most out of the incentives your card has to offer, familiarizing yourself with the rewards structure is essential. There are a number of travel credit cards that offer increased points on travel expenses in addition to a base rewards rate that is applicable to all other purchases. For example, a card might award you three points for every dollar spent on travel-related goods, but just one point for every dollar spent on anything else you buy with it.
Some credit cards feature a set reward system, such as awarding two points for each dollar spent across all purchases made with the card. If you are looking for a less complicated strategy to rack up incentives, the flat-rate rewards structure is the choice you should go with.
You can get the most out of your rewards by making the majority of your purchases with your travel rewards credit card, which earns a higher rate of rewards for those categories, and making purchases with another reward credit card, which earns a higher rate of rewards for purchases made in other categories. If, on the other hand, you want to rack up travel rewards as rapidly as possible, you can accelerate the process by using a credit card that earns travel points for all of your purchases, including your monthly bills (as long as there is no additional fee).
Freebie for First-Time Buyers
The initial sign-up bonus is often a one-time, lump-sum payment with many travel rewards credit cards. Spending a certain amount on purchases during the first few months after creating your credit card account is required in order to be eligible for the bonus. Earning the bonus is a fairly straightforward process. For instance, if you get a credit card and spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of using the credit card, the credit card issuer may offer you 50,000 bonus points. Even if the required spending amount and the number of bonus points can differ from one credit card to the next, the majority of credit cards give you three or ninety days to receive the bonus.
The signup bonus is often not applicable to balance transfers or cash advances made with the card. Credit card companies also have a minimum net spending requirement. This means that if you get a return or refund, a portion of the amount you spent will be taken away.
Merging With Numerous Other Customer Loyalty Programs
The vast majority of airlines and hotels provide customer loyalty programs that award points to patrons whenever they fly or reserve a room at a hotel. Some credit cards also allow you to transfer your travel rewards to partners in the travel industry, such as airlines and hotels. This makes it possible to achieve free travel or even loyalty status more rapidly. You may still carefully arrange your travel to get the most of your credit card and loyalty benefits, even if your travel rewards credit card does not have hotel or airline, transfer partners.
For instance, if you use your credit card to book all of your air travel with the same airline, you will not only be able to rack up rewards from your credit card, but you will also be able to collect frequent flyer miles with that particular carrier. You could then potentially use the airline rewards you’ve earned to pay for a flight, and you could use the credit card rewards you’ve earned to pay for another component of the vacation, such as a hotel or a car rental.
Watch Out for These Major Fees When Using Your Credit Card.
There are a lot of credit cards that offer travel points that come with an annual charge, but the fee isn’t always a deal breaker. Your ability to earn sufficient points to counterbalance the annual fee on a credit card while still reaping the benefits of using the card should determine whether or not you go with a card that charges one. Those who don’t make many purchases each month could be better off selecting a credit card that doesn’t have an annual fee.
If going abroad is high on your list of things to do, look into getting a credit card that offers travel rewards and doesn’t charge a fee for making purchases in other countries. With this one-of-a-kind card perk, you won’t have to pay the standard surcharge of 3 percent for transactions made in a currency other than the United States dollar.
Obtaining Eligibility for the Very Best Credit Card
It is normal that having a strong credit score is required in order to be approved for the top travel credit cards. It is important to be aware of your credit status before you go shopping for credit cards because this will give you an idea of the kinds of credit cards for which you are eligible. You can check your credit score for free by using a service like Credit Karma or Discover’s FICO Credit Scorecard.
Additionally, you should routinely monitor your credit reports, as these serve as the foundation for your credit ratings. Once a year, go to AnnualCreditReport.com to get your free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. You can do this by proving that you are eligible for this benefit. Check your credit report to see if there is any incorrect information that could be dragging down your score. If there are mistakes on your credit report, you can dispute them by sending a letter to the credit bureaus in question along with any proof you may have.
In the meantime, it may take a few weeks to clean up any errors that have been reported on your credit report, but in the meantime, you should watch your credit score for any upward movement.
Redeeming Travel Points
When the time comes for you to redeem your points for a vacation, you will have a few different alternatives available to you depending on the credit card that you use. There are several credit card issuers that provide their customers with an online booking facility that allows them to make trip bookings and immediately use their points. When you use your points with certain travel partners, you can even get a greater redemption rate than you would normally obtain. It is possible that you will need to plan your vacation around blackout days and the availability of flights.
Other credit cards provide you with the option to convert your points into a statement credit that may be applied to future travel purchases made with that particular credit card. This implies that you will have to redeem your points after you have already booked your trip.
In certain circumstances, you may be able to move points across different loyalty programs. Because points do not always transfer exactly one for one between programs, this tactic might not be the best choice if you want to get the most out of the incentives you earn. However, having the option to do so is helpful in the event that you need to combine points from several different programs in order to pay for your vacation.