Despite the fact that Canadians love to travel, many aren’t taking advantage of travel reward programs. A lot of credit card loyalty programs offer travel rewards to help cardholders pay for vacations. Research has shown that not everyone is taking advantage of these benefits.
Travel rewards sites say that less than 30% of cardholders who have a credit card rewards program book travel using the reward points they have earned. This leaves over 70% of the reward points being earned unclaimed and unused, which are likely going to expire before they have the opportunity to be spent on the travel that they could be.
No one wants to pay a lot of money for luxurious vacations. That doesn’t stop the Canadians from booking extravagant travel, however. Over the past Christmas season, close to 4.3 million Canadians booked trips outside of the nation’s borders. This is a 3% increase from previous months. Across the board, spending has increased almost 11% to a little over $4.7 billion. There’s also another $8.3 billion being spent by the Canadians abroad, which is an increase of 5% over prior years.
All of these statistics show that the desire for travel is there. Travel isn’t coming to a halt as the lack of travel points being redeemed would otherwise indicate.
If you have travel rewards and you’re not using them to cut your travel expenses, it’s a lost opportunity. The travel reward points are listed on your credit card statement. By tracking these, you can ensure you know what your balances are and use them before you book your travel. This way you can take advantage of as many discounts and free travel rewards as possible.
Taking advantage of these reward points is easier than you even think.
Selecting the Right Card
It’s important to choose the right credit card for your travel rewards. Some of the cards offer discounts on car rentals while others will provide better discounts for hotels and airlines. There are also a lot of low ticket discounts with some cards while other cards are going to give you high ticket discounts but it will take months and months of accumulating your points.
Before you decide on the card, you need to put your travel priorities in order and figure out how long you want to wait for your rewards. If you are in a hurry to redeem points, then make sure that you select the right card. Otherwise you may be spending too much money to get to your point levels faster.
You don’t want to become discouraged with the credit card that you get. If you suddenly stop spending money on the card before you can reach the level that you want, all of those points are going to expire. Airline cards, hotel cards and bank cards offer travel rewards. Some have annual fees and some don’t. Make the comparisons online or by talking to a customer service representative. Only then can you apply for the card with confidence that you are getting good travel benefits.
Switching When Necessary
You may already have a travel rewards card. If you’re not getting the benefits you thought you’d be getting when you signed up for the card, it may be time to switch to another card. Keep in mind that you might not be able to transfer all of your old points to your new card. This is a decision you have to make. Do you give up old points to try and get new points faster? Find out what you are allowed to do with your old points before you make the switch. If you tell them about your dissatisfaction, they may even be able to offer you another card within the same program that has a higher earning potential.
Making the Right Plans
You need to plan ahead and book ahead, especially if you want to use your points to pay for a large portion of your vacation. A lot of times, the reward has to be booked in advance because of availability. Whether it’s for your hotel, airfare, car or plane tickets, you can get the free travel you want but the catch is that you often need to book months in advance.
Travel rewards are often expiring instead of being put to good use. This can be done for a lavish vacation or a weekend getaway. With a little time spent on card selection and some time spent planning, reward points can work to your advantage instead of your disadvantage.