Maximize Travel Rewards
Rewards programs can get you free airfare, upgrades and more, but are you maximizing your points?
Managing and balancing all of your rewards programs – from hotel to airline to credit card points – can feel a bit overwhelming. When can you use them? Do they expire? Can you convert points if not traveling? You might wonder if you’re even in the right program for your needs. To help answer some of these questions, we’ve found a few resources to help you evaluate, understand and use your points. After all, you’ve worked hard to accumulate your rewards, make sure you get the most out of them.
One of the best resources for understanding and getting the most out of your miles is through The Points Guy. The founder and CEO, Brian Kelly, uses his time as a Wall Street Warrior and world traveler to share his knowledge and insight. A good starting point is his beginner’s guide that gives readers step-by-step instructions for selecting the best rewards programs, finding an online mileage manager and never missing out on a deal.
One great tip he provides is to not put all your miles in one basket. Get a credit card that allows you to transfer your points to different airlines so you can make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. It’s also good to have points in different programs in case your favorite airline doesn’t fly to your destination. Another great tip: pick up the phone. Reservation agents generally have access to more than you see online. A phone call can sometimes result in a fee, but agents are often willing to wave it if you ask nicely.
Fodor’s Travel also has insightful tips with its list, that mostly focuses on what to use your points on. For example, it recommends researching award chart “sweet spots” from various programs. Sweet spots differ from program to program. It may mean the number of miles needed for a trip through “program A” is less than the same or comparable trips on “program B”. You just have to make sure you’re researching all of the options.
Of course, there are many apps out there to help you manage all of these points you’re racking up. Travel + Leisure put together a handy list of some of the best including AwardWallet, TripIt and MileWise.
What’s your best tip for getting the most out of airline miles? Share with us and other Fast Park guests on our Facebook page!