Myths You’ve Been Told about Travel Rewards
Many people fly a great deal, stay at hotels, and spend on their credit cards, but fail to take advantage of the miles and other travel rewards that they could get. They ignore frequent traveler programs or credit card travel rewards because they hold on to mistaken notions about these programs. What follows are 5 myths about these programs that many people believe in and the facts about them.
1. Travel Miles and Points Can Be Hard to Make Use of
If you tend to buy your airplane tickets only a few days in advance of your trips, you may find it hard to make use of your travel points. Travel points are easy to use, but you do need to make arrangements about 9 months in advance when such travel products are first put on the market.
It can be easier to use your travel rewards points to get hotel rooms than it is to get airline tickets because hotels tend to not have the kind of occupancy rates that flights do. For the greatest flexibility, you should use a general travel rewards card. With such a card product, you should be able to redeem your points to make hotel or flight reservations or move your points to different frequent traveler programs.
2. Travel Rewards Cards Are Expensive
Many people stay away from travel rewards cards. They believe that they charge excessive annual fees. While some cards do charge a few hundred dollars, however, it isn’t the case with every card. Most charge no more than $100 a year.
Whatever you may pay, you can usually offset those fees by making use of some of the perks available. If you have an airline card, for instance, you get to use the card’s free hotel nights or free checked bag allowance. As long as you use the airline or hotel that the card is co-branded with, travel rewards cards are rarely expensive.
3. Everyone Should Only Concentrate on One Frequent Traveler Program
It does make sense to focus on one frequent traveler program if you hope to put together a special trip that requires thousands of points. It doesn’t always make sense to go with just one program, however.
If you are a travel enthusiast, you will usually want to use more than just one hotel chain or airline. When you use multiple travel companies, you’ll be able to pick and choose the best promotions to take advantage of. Often, different frequent traveler programs offer different redemption values. You may find that your points with one hotel chain get you a basic room, but your points with another get you a luxury room.
Devaluation is a problem that you should prepare for, as well. Frequent traveler programs devalue their miles and points from time to time. If all your travel points are with one company, such devaluations can hit you hard. If you have multiple frequent traveler programs, you may be able to use only the program with the most valuable points at any given time.
4. You Need a Great Credit Score
In general, you can only apply for a travel rewards credit card if you have a credit score over 690. If your credit score isn’t as high, however, you still have options. You can apply for a cashback rewards card, and use it for travel.
5. Travel Rewards Require Too Much Effort
Travel rewards programs can be complicated sometimes, and some people invest considerable time in getting as much value as they can out of their points.
While being a rewards hacker allows you to make better use of your points than most people, you can get very rewarding benefits with only a minimal investment of effort. All you need to do is to sign up to a frequent traveler program and a rewards credit card, and look at a few frequent traveler program newsletters sometimes to catch redemption opportunities.
People make a big deal out of frequent traveler programs because they offer value. If taking advantage of these programs seems like too much effort, you only need to put in as much effort as you are comfortable with. You’ll make a decent return on your investment in time and effort.