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Hi, I’m Mr Credit Card and I write and review credit cards at my site www.askmrcreditcard.com. I started this site because while I was looking for a credit card a few years ago, I could not find any site that really reviews credit cards in depth. If you are looking for a new card, please check out my best credit cards recommended list.
Like Aryn, I have been an avid user of credit cards and taking advantage of rewards. I have not taken advantage of any 0% APR offers or even any sign up bonuses for points. What I have done is just to make use of a couple of cards and racked up lots of points which I used for airline tickets and cash rebates. Aryn wrote a guest post on my blog telling us how she is looking to earn miles for her next trip to Australia. Today, I am going to share some tips on saving money on your airline travel and perhaps highlight some tips for her as well.
One of the keys to saving money on airline tickets, like Aryn mentioned, is obviously to get chalk up reward points or frequent flier points. Aryn mentioned that she has the Delta Skymiles Credit Card. But there are obviously other cards which you can use. The average number of points required for a domestic round trip economy restricted flight is about 25,000 to 30,000 points. Hence, spending that amount of your credit card in a year (not an unreasonable assumption) is already one free ticket.
Earn more miles with a business credit card
When I started my first job in sales, my company gave me a business credit card. It was a gold Amex charge card. The company I worked for allowed me to accumulated membership reward points. So whenever I took clients out for dinners and entertainment or flew an airline, I used the my business card and racked up points really fast. And since the points do not expire, I could wait for the right moment to get the right airline tickets. After I was issued the card by my company, I immediately got out and got an Amex Gold Card for personal use. Since I can link my account, I can earn points even faster (though it would not have as fast if I did not have the business card).
But even entrepreneurs can take advantage and get a business credit card that matches their lifestyle and reward goals and rack up points quickly. Since most business expenses are larger than household expenses, you can earn points really quickly.
Ask for everything under the sun when you book your hotels
My wife Mrs Credit Card used to work in hotel sales. So whenever we go on vacation, she does the booking because she knows what to ask for. Regardless of what hotel or where you book, here are somethings you simply want to ask for.
- complimentary late checkout – even if you do not intend to (but it is an option). Ask early
- complimentary breakfast – some hotels would not give you if you do not ask!
- good room views – always ask for a good room view and chances are that you will get the best one available
- ask for corner rooms – as they tend to be bigger and quieter because they are away from the elevators
- ask for a room on a higher floor
- ask for special room upgrade
How to ask for room upgrade
I want to devote a little time on this topic because there is an art in going about doing this. Firstly, ask when you are booking over the phone if they have complimentary upgrades. Mention that you have this credit card or that you are a member of AAA and ask if there are any special deals.
Also, ask if there is any promotions for room upgrades. Hotels have programs where they up sell rooms. Sometimes, an extra $20 or $50 fro example can get you a suite upgrade.
If it does not work over the phone, ask when you check in. Be polite. Say something like you are not feeling well or that your kids are cranky and not feeling well and ask if they could upgrade your room. Smile too!
With a little luck, you can get a much nicer room than you paid for.
Book hotels directly with the hotel
I have the Amex Platinum Card and one of the perks is that you earn double points for booking through their travel site (which by the way is powered by Travelocity). I did that once and when I wanted to cut short my stay when I was already at the hotel, I was told I could get no refund from the hotel and instead had to go back to Travelocity. Even Amex could not really help me.
When you book directly with the hotel, you can request for all the stuff that I just mentioned and if you need to change your schedule, they can do it. Once you book through a travel agent, your booking falls under a separate system. By the way, Aryn also recommends booking your flights directly with the airline.
Join the frequent guest program of the hotel you are staying in
Once you have booked the hotel, immediately join the frequent guest program and make sure your points are credited into your account when you check in. But more importantly, frequent guest program offer meal vouchers and discounts. Hence, you should always be on the lookout for promotional codes and vouchers. During my last stay at the Hyatt, I got a $150 mean voucher simple from getting the code from Hyatt’s Passport website.
Transfer Miles and Earn More Miles
Right now, Aryn is trying to save miles for a trip to Australia. One tactic she can consider is to transfer miles. Delta Skymiles is now having a promotion where you can transfer miles to someone else and get 50% more miles. This offer is valid until 31st December 2009. Aryn can transfer miles to her hubby and vice-versa
She can also consider getting a Starwood credit card since she is a member of Starwood Preferred Guest program. Starwood allows you to transfer points 1:1 to most airlines and you will get a bonus 5,000 miles when you transfer 20,000 points into miles!
There are numerous other ways to save and earn miles for your next vacation. I have just touched the tip of the iceberg. I hope you have found these tips helpful. Just a reminder, Aryn has written some great travel tips in the past: