Everyone loves free things don’t they!? I know I do, especially when it comes to travel or being able to save up to travel. That is why I try and take advantage of as many rewards programs as I can, whether it’s for a
A lot of times while at home it’s the boring things you absolutely need to spend your money on – mortgage, utility bills, groceries…(and I’ll be honest the occasional online Lululemon or Sephora shop). So while I’m not travelling, I’m trying to get these necessary expenditures to do some work for me!
Rewards credit cards are where it’s at!
The best way that I’ve found to earn points, which I feel like Canada is midway for opportunity for – Americans have a lot more options but European countries have much less, is to find good rewards credit cards to use. There are definetly a few different ways other than credit cards, but I find they have the best return for your money.
The main rewards program that I use, which is one of two big airline rewards in Canada, is Airmiles. The other program is backed by Air Canada and also has some good options and that’s Areoplan. Airmiles is nice because it is widely accepted, has a pretty decent miles – rewards ratio, and are generally pretty easy to earn.
I actually switched my banking over to Bank of Montreal as they have both chequing accounts and credit cards that you can earn Airmiles with. I would suggest checking these out, but waiting for a bonus offer before you sign up. They generally have some sort of ‘welcome’ offer on their credit cards which can make a big difference. I just checked and the one they are offering for their World Elite card (which is the one I use), you get 2000 bonus miles right now, enough for two flights! That is a paid credit card, but I have found the yearly fee well worth the rewards.
The yearly fee is something to consider. Of course there are free Airmiles (or other rewards) cards, so you want to be sure the fee is worth it. Generally you’ll earn more per dollar spent and sometimes get flight discounts or other perks, like access to airport lounges, on a paid card.
Another card that I use is the Capital One Aspire Travel Card. I got this card before I went to Australia and used it to book most of my travel. This card is great because you just book any type of travel related item, whether it’s a flight, hotel, hostel, train ticket, etc. and you can go onto the website and redeem your travel points that you’ve earned right away and it gets taken off of your bill. I did like using this card, and loved the ease with which you could redeem your points on the website, however as I don’t have much actual travel going on at the moment I’ve been sticking to my Airmiles Mastercard to earn some miles.
I do have the club cards for most hotel chains that I’ve stayed in, but I’ve personally found that I don’t use them enough so far in my travel experiences to earn much with them.
All in all I would say that if travel is something you’re interested in, use those dollars you’re already spending to your advantage! It is a bit controversial but I use my credit cards for everything, from a $1 coffee to large purchases. If I’m going to be spending the money anyways, I would like to get something for it. That being said, know yourself, if you can’t control your spending those free flights aren’t going to be worth much when you’re thousands in debt.
What do you use to earn free travel, any other suggestions??