You can avoid rewarding travel nightmares by taking appropriate steps.
the main points
- Using credit card points and miles to book flights is a great way to make your next trip affordable.
- But if you’re not careful, you could make mistakes that cost you.
- Make sure to review your flight options, review fees and taxes, and don’t wait until the last minute to book your flight.
As a frequent traveler, I am a huge fan of travel rewards cards. Using credit cards to earn rewards and redeem them for free or almost free travel makes me and my bank account happy. But it is very easy to make redemption mistakes when redeeming rewards for flights.
The good news is that if you know what to watch out for, you can avoid making costly mistakes. Are you planning to book a flight for an upcoming holiday? Find out what you need to know so you don’t make a huge mistake that negatively affects your personal finances.
1. Not checking flight availability
Transferring your points or miles to a travel partner is a great way to increase the value you receive. But you don’t want to rush the process. If you rush to transfer your points or miles before checking flight availability, you may discover that there are no flight options for your preferred travel dates. Always check availability first so you don’t get stuck.
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2. Forget about checking taxes and fees
You are responsible for paying taxes and fees when redeeming airline credit card rewards. For some carriers and excursions, the fees are reasonable. But this is not always the case.
Some airlines are notorious for charging high fees, which can cost you. Best practice is to review the fees before booking a reward flight. This way, you won’t accidentally go over your vacation budget.
3. Traveling during the busy season
Although you may be able to find an affordable flight during the busy travel months or near the holidays, this is not always the case. why? Because more travelers are traveling at that time.
If there is flight availability, you will likely need to use more points or miles for your flight. If you’re flexible with your dates, traveling during the holiday season can be more valuable.
4. Wait until the last minute to book
Similar to regular travel reservations, it can be beneficial to book award flights long before your travel dates arrive. This way, you can get a better deal. If you only wait a few weeks or two before you plan to travel, you may have to pay more than you intend.
5. Use the card issuer’s rewards portal to book a flight
Many travel rewards cards have branded travel booking portals available for use. While this may be a convenient way to plan and book your next trip, it may not be the best move to take.
why? You may be stuck if you need to make changes or problems arise later. It is best to book directly with the airline of your choice to get the best possible customer service experience. You can do this by transferring your points or miles and booking directly with our travel transfer partners.
Travel credit cards are valuable, and they can unlock money-saving travel opportunities.
Make sure to think ahead before redeeming credit card rewards for your next trip. With proper planning, you can get an excellent deal and increase the value of your reward trip.
Interested in getting travel rewards with a credit card? See our list of the best travel credit cards to learn more about your options.
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