Sure, we all love a great flight deal or glitch but what happens when we book a great flight to somewhere like Italy or Turks and Caicos where things can be a bit pricey compared to the states? Most people find flight deals using Skyscanner, Airfarewatchdog, CheapAir.com, CheapoAir.com, SecretFlying.com, Google Flights or Momondo to name a few.
When I book a trip I look at every item, down to how I save money communicating abroad. I compare packaged plans with pricing items on my own. Here are a few ways to save money on more than just the flight.
Corporate discounts for leisure travel
If you or someone you travel with works for a corporation that has multiple locations, a sales team and/or any employees that travel (truck drivers, technicians etc) there may be company discounts available to employees for leisure travel with hotels, rental cars and some airlines (rare).
Check the benefits section of your company’s intranet. Sometimes you can call up a hotel and ask what discounts are extended to me as an employee of __, if you can’t find any information. Depending on the company, these discounts tend to be more advantageous. I notice hotels offer better corporate discounts. Rental car company corporate discounts may not be more advantageous than specials as the rates may include company required insurance. If you’re a freelancer, there are a few discounts available to you as a member of the Freelancers Union (free membership). You will need to do a quick comparison of cost. Google sheets are your friend 🙂
Loyalty and Reward Program Discounts
As a member of free travel rewards programs, there are discounts available to you just for being a member. Of course, it may not be available on certain dates and all properties/locations but it is available. For example using promo code M11 which is valid for Marriott Rewards members may provide an additional discount. I check any loyalty discounts after corporate to compare. I often find good deals using Hilton Honors fast track to Gold MVP rates which are normally 20% off. I am a member of most programs. It is good to sign up to obtain status and special perks, Companies tend to show a lot of love to their loyalty members and it takes 1 minute or less to sign up. You can track rewards programs, status and points with Award Wallet or TripIt Pro. Be sure to keep track of status and when your points expire because it is a waste to accumulate tons of points and lose them by not staying active or meeting program requirements.
The misconception about travel is that you have to make a lot of money to be able to travel. I receive far more questions about where I work versus how I travel.👎👎 Check out the link in the bio to to find out how I was able to book over 15 flights on points last year. How I fast track to high hotel statuses. How I’ve been able to travel so much and not accumulate debt and pay off student loan. How an airline financed my trip to Dubai. 😁 How I visited Cuba for under $300 for everything. How I use social media to pay for trips. Hint. It’s not all credit cards or having a lot of money. I use various discounts and points for every aspect of the trip. Down to even getting in to airport lounges at a discount. Tag someone that needs to see this. Let me know your thoughts. #WorkHardTravelWell #igtravel #travelblogger #traveltuesday#traveltiptuesday #alternativefacts #alternate #travel #traveltips #dubai #asia #thailand #iceland #cuba #finesse #travelplug #plug #fakenews #atlanta #charlotte #eyesunphotography #hacks #vacation #blackswhoblog
If you’ve racked up points on an airline, hotel or rental car, you can use them for a lot of things. Depending on the program you can use points for airline points for hotels, cars and more. Hotel points can be used for free nights or additional amenities at the hotel such as breakfast and more. Some programs such as SPG or Southwest allow you to spend points on experiences which can be anywhere from culinary to VIP experience at concerts and sporting events. Most people shy away from points because they think you only can accumulate a lot of points with credit cards. While credit card point bonuses are nice you can earn points by eating out at certain restaurants or you can win points on social media. Some programs allow you to Double Dip and earn points with hotels and airlines. Here are a few cool features of earning and spending points of a few programs that are sometimes overlooked.
- You can earn Delta Skymiles with hotel and Airbnb stays, even if you did not fly on Delta for the trip. Typically you can earn at least 1 mile per dollar spent with hotels such as Marriott, Hilton, SPG, IHG and more. Learn how to link your Delta Skymiles and hotel and Airbnb here. Be sure to read the fine print.
- You can pay for flights with miles and cash. I love this option. If you have a Delta Amex card you can take $50 off for every 5,000 points. Rewards start at 10,000 without a card.
- You can earn miles when you use Lyft. You earn a mile for ever dollar spent by linking your account here.
- Delta Sky Club access-Delta has some of the best Skylounges around the world. The great thing about them is that you don’t have to be in First class for access. You can access the lounge with a membership, pay for single entry or if you have a Delta Amex you can get discounted entry. I flew on Emirates and was able to access the Delta Sky Club even though I wasn’t flying Delta. I just showed my Delta Amex card and ticket and they let us both in for $29. This saved us on food and drinks as unlimited food and beverages and alcohol were included. It also allowed us to relax and not have to fight for plugs at the gate. Check out all of the ways you can get discounted access to airport lounges.
- You can earn SkyMiles with a debit card. If you love Delta check to see if they offered a Delta branded debit card. There is an annual fee but it is much cheaper than the credit card annual fee.
- You can earn miles by eating out or with rental cars and shopping. Click to learn all the partners you can earn miles with for dining.
- The miles never expire!
- If you have a Delta Amex card, you and people flying with you don’t have to pay for bags.
- You can earn points with flights. The amount of points is based on the amount of money you spend on the ticket and the type of ticket and is not based on the number of miles you travel.
- Once you earn 110,000 points you can earn a companion pass, where a person can travel with you for free for a year. All you have to do is pay the taxes/fees for the companion to add to the flight which is $11.20 for domestic flight and varies for international flights. Most people speed their way to earning this with Southwest Chase credit cards. Click to read more about this method. As of April 1, 2017, you can no longer use points earned from partners to qualify for the companion pass.
- Points won’t expire as long as you earn Rapid Rewards Points from flights or Partners every 24 months.
- Partners include the ability to earn points with Marriott stays as opposed to Marriott rewards, points for SPG stays or MGM stays.
- You can spend points on hotel and rental cars and other travel-related things to help cut costs.
- You can earn miles by eating out or with rental cars and shopping. Click to learn all the partners you can earn points with for dining.
This airline has tons of 2 for 1 deals and flight deals from the U.S. A lot of people miss out by not signing up for the Emirates Skywards program.
- You can earn up to 5,000 points in addition to the points you earn with the flight (depending on your class) just for registering for a free account and taking a flight within 6 months.
- You can pay for flights with a points and cash option starting at 2,000 points.
- Skywards points expire 3 years from the date of travel. Be sure to keep track and verify this in your account.
- Emirates and SPG have a crossover rewards program called Your World Rewards where you can earn both Skywards and SPG Starpoints when you fly or stay. You have to register for the program
- You can earn and spend points with several partners.
- It is easy to obtain a lot of Hilton Honors points without a credit card. I obtained the bulk of my points from 5 stays that fast tracked me to Gold Status in 2015 and 2016. With gold status, I was able to receive an additional 25% points bonus with each stay. Another bonus I received is an extra 5,000 points on top of regular points for staying at a brand new Hilton property in Chicago in 2016 that had a special during the first few months of operations. Also as a Hilton Gold member, you can forego certain perks such as breakfast to gain additional points, noted below as “MyWay Preferences Bonus Option”. Note also the ability to earn Delta miles with each stay simply by including my Hilton Honor member number in my Delta Account profile. Learn how to fast track to Hilton Gold status here.
- You can now pool points with family members and friends to help get free nights.
- You can use points and money to save on Hilton rooms. Compare the costs and if it’s worth using your points.
- Click to learn about all of the partners you can earn Hilton Honor points with.
- Be sure to check for specials and bonuses in your Hilton Honors account to earn additional points. Check your promotions here. As a general rule, you should always check what promotions are available to earn discounts and extra points with all companies you use to travel.
- There is a unique referral program where you can earn 2000 points per each new member you refer and completes a stay. The referral also receives 2,000 bonus points.
- Always keep track of the promotions and bonuses. They are listed once you log in. Currently, there are several summer promotions and you can earn bonus points by completing a stay by September 4th.
- You can pay with points and cash.
- You can earn points in addition to hotel stays by using SPG Credit Cards, by flying on Delta, Emirates or China Eastern or using Uber. Click to read all of the ways to earn points and how to link your accounts.
- You can redeem points on a 1:1 ratio with airlines, VIP access to sporting events and concerts, hotel upgrades and more.
- You can combine points and cash to pay for rooms.
- You can convert SPG points to Marriott Rewards points and vice versa. Compare if it is really worth it.
Keeping track of loyalty programs can be a daunting task but if you are diligent it can be very rewarding. Whenever you book travel, spend the extra minute or less to sign up for the loyalty program. Use the tools mentioned above to keep track and with every trip check to see how you can earn points and bonus opportunities so that you can earn free travel and status quickly.
You can use these voucher sites to book discounted tours, packaged trips, airport parking, hotels or even find restaurant deals for your travel destination. Read about my experience with Groupon Getaways for travel packages. Be sure to google for coupon codes for additional discount codes to apply to your voucher purchase
Discount Travel Sites
Check the following sites for additional savings on hotel, air, packages and rental cars. I usually find better discounts with catching a flight deal and booking a hotel with a corporate discount or rewards program promotions because hotels want you to book directly with them. Some will even match or beat the rates listed.
Bonus Tip: Follow these sites on social media for giveaways and participate in Twitter chats and contests for free travel. I once won a $500 voucher for participating in an Expedia Twitter Chat. Also, Orbitz tends to give away Orbucks on social media. I was able to score a room at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas for 19.00 after using Orbucks I accumulated through social media and dining under the Orbitz Orbucks Dining Rewards program.
Sign up for Airbnb, Uber or Lyft and promote your code so that you can earn credits for your next stay or ride with each new sign up. If you are traveling with someone that has never used Airbnb, let them book the rental using your discount code so that you both win! Current promotions include $40 off your first Airbnb rental of $75 or more (promote your code to earn a$20 credit). Claim $20 off your first Uber ride (earn a $20 credit when you promote your code). Claim $5 off your first Lyft ride.
There are many ways to cut down on costs with traveling. Just because you work hard and travel well it doesn’t mean you have to blow your money on every trip. These may seem like time-consuming exercises but once you have a grasp on the discounts available to you and points, you tend to know which programs are advantageous for you. When I book travel I have a spreadsheet open and I tackle each aspect and understand what discounts each person I am traveling with has access to. Checking these options can help you save money beyond snagging a great flight deal. How do you save on the total trip? Comment below!
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