If you fly often or dream of flying often, a credit card with a frequent flyer or rewards program can often help you get to where you’re going quicker. However, many platinum and rewards cards have perks and offers you can take advantage of to upgrade your holiday minus the added expenses.
These cards do attract higher interest rates and annual fees on average, but in many cases will even itself out with the rewards on offer. Here’s five tips to upgrade your holiday without paying too much.
1. Converting points into flights or accommodation
If your credit card is linked to a frequent flyer or rewards program, you can use these points on flights or accommodation. You usually accumulate points by spending on your card every day. The Virgin Velocity Program, American Express rewards program, and airline-specific programs such as Qantas Frequent Flyer or Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer can all help you spend less (up front) on flying to your destination.
2. Complimentary travel insurance
Many credit cards – especially platinum level cards – offer complimentary travel insurance if you purchase flights with the card. This can save you a lot of money compared to shelling out for it alone. It can also include baggage cover, medical cover, and transit accident insurance. Be sure to read your Terms and Conditions so you aren’t caught out.
3. Get organised with a concierge service
Most platinum cards – that includes Visa, MasterCard, and American Express – offer a concierge service. Your concierge can research and book everything for you; these could be flights, accommodation, restaurants, concerts, car rentals, and more. Just give your concierge your budget and preferences and they’ll do the rest. You can also call them when you’re in trouble and need replacement cards, anywhere in the world.
4. Elite hotel upgrades
Some cards give you automatic upgrades when booking within their rewards card network of hotels and accommodation. This might be in the form of room upgrades, complimentary breakfast or wi-fi, or late checkouts. Hilton Honors Gold, Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status and Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade are some of the loyalty programs that can be linked to American Express Platinum cards, for example.
5. Travel vouchers and lounge passes
Start your holiday in style with complimentary passes to exclusive airport lounges. Airport lounges give you fine dining, private workstations, and comfortable seating while waiting for your flight. Some cards like the Virgin Velocity cards offer free lounge passes for you and a companion, limited to one a year. The Virgin Velocity also “reimburses” your annual fee by offering a $129 Virgin Australia travel voucher once per year. Other cards offer similar rewards.