This one may surprise you. We all love to travel (that’s why you’re reading this right?). If it were free, we’d all travel more and see the world. For most of us, cost is the biggest hurdle between us and the travel of our dreams. So we wanted to highlight a concept that until now has mostly been popular in only a small niche of the travel market. Here’s a mind-boggling, but very real and very achievable, concept – you can actually travel to most places in the world for… almost no cash. I know. Read on.
Most people are aware of frequent flier miles. You know that if you fly a certain amount, you’ll earn credits that can eventually add up to a free flight. And similar programs exist at most hotels. That’s all well and good, but those programs are complicated and difficult to figure out unless you spent hours reading through rule charts. It often feels like you don’t get a ton of benefit from these points, so it’s easy to ignore them. My guess is, many of you have not made a ton of use of rewards like this for just that reason. Here are the top things to know about reward travel.
Essential Concepts for Nearly-Free Travel
Concept #1: Earning reward points is easy if you know how
Here’s the part that you may not know. There’s another, better, way to earn frequent flier miles, and hotel points. It’s by being smart about your personal finances. If you only fly occasionally, it would take years to earn enough miles to get a free trip. With the right financial plan, you could earn enough for a free trip in weeks. But how do you figure out the best credit card to get to earn the miles in the right program, and how do you maximize those miles once you earn them?
Concept #2: Getting meaningful trips requires strategy
All the major airline and hotel programs have dozens of partnerships with other airlines, hotels and credit card companies. This makes for quite a massive web of interconnected possible ways to use your reward points. It also means that if you want to really get good value from those points, you’re going to need a cohesive strategy that accounts for the various options at your disposal.
Concept #3: Use free resources to get help
Until now, actually getting something worthwhile from your reward points has been mostly accomplished by reading a variety of blogs and generally doing a lot of research. Blogs are free, which is nice, but that’s tedious work. The best tool we’ve found for figuring out how to get and use points is RewardStock. They are the first platform that uses algorithms to show you not only how to earn reward points quickly, but also show the best ways to use your frequent flier miles, credit card, and hotel points for travel. Using algorithms rather than guess-work, you no longer have to wonder if you’re making a good choice with your points. The site just shows you your best options, which is super helpful!
Another feature we really like is that their site is free. There’s no strings attached – they get paid by advertising the credit cards that will earn you the right bonus points so you get to your nearly-free trip faster. It’s much more convenient than reading a bunch of blogs and it’s personalized advice without the cost of a ‘reward planner’ service.
Concept #4: What part of travel isn’t free?
Something you should know about reward travel is that it’s ‘almost’ free, but not completely. Usually flights have some mandatory taxes starting at $5.60. Some flights have higher taxes if they are international, and some airlines tack on surcharges as well. It’s pennies on the dollar to what you’d normally pay for the same trip, but there’s usually a non-zero cost of a few bucks. Hotels on the other hand often have no cash cost and are totally free if you use your points.