No one wants to pay more than they have to and that is definitely the case when it comes to spending money on travel.
A way of ensuring that you save some money would be to sign up to one of the most popular travel reward cards around, so that you can benefit from the rewards available for every amount you spend on booking flights, hotels and any other activity where rewards are available.
Old dog, new tricks
The first ever frequent flyer program was introduced way back in the early 1970â€™s, so the concept of loyalty programs is firmly established and hardly a new idea.
Despite all that time that we have had to get familiar with the idea, it still seems that we are still searching for ways to get the most out of the deals and rewards that are available, and make the most of the rules and limits that apply to each different program.
The practice of working within the rules created by airlines, hotel chains and credit card companies, but maximizing them to your own advantage, is called travel hacking, and it is trending right now as people search for ways to save money and even get some free flights.
The term travel hacking doesnâ€™t perhaps create a favorable first impression as it sounds almost like you are going to be crossing a few lines and take some unauthorized risks in order to get your rewards, but really it is about finding the shortcuts and the combinations that unlock big rewards, like free flights.
In it to win it
If you are serious about getting all of the potential rewards that are available, you need to cover as many bases as possible.
This means signing up to as many rewards and frequent flyer programs as you possibly can. The vast majority of this programs are completely free to join, so all it is going to cost you is your time.
You canâ€™t really expect to gain maximum benefits from all of the available offers and rewards schemes if you are not signed up to all of the programs available. If you take the time to do this, there is a very good chance that you will be unlikely to book a flight or a hotel again, without enjoying some sort of points reward, cash back or air miles.
Using your credit card wisely
You donâ€™t want to be incurring credit card debts and run up balances just to get some extra rewards or free flights, as that will end up being no saving at all.
The smart way to approach using your credit card to unlock rewards is to check what each travel rewards credit program is offering and what the requirements are, such as minimum spend, in order to get the maximum rewards benefit.
Make sure you have the resources to clear your card balance when the statement comes in and check whether the minimum spend requirement is realistic for your spending levels. You can use your card to pay for all sorts of things, even your taxes, so if you can spend money on your card that you already have, it is a no-brainer if it earns you a free flight or a free hotel stay.
You donâ€™t really want to be signing up to loads of credit cards just to get the air miles and points on offer, especially if you canâ€™t pay off your balance, but if the deal suits your travel and spending plans, then you can certainly get some excellent rewards for your loyalty.
Get some extra help
There is a chance to potentially double up on your rewards if you take the step of adding an authorized user to your account.
Check whether the rewards program allows you to add extra points or miles through adding an additional authorized user. If that is the case, your partner or a family member who is not that worried about accumulating their own points, could help you to hit your points targets quicker than you would on just your own steam.
A number of card companies and loyalty programs that allow you to add another user, tend to to set a time limit to do this when you first sign up, so check the terms and conditions and be ready to take advantage.
Saving money and earning rewards while you spend always feels good, so make sure that you make the most of the chance to earn a free flight or money off your hotel stay.
Harriet Haynes writes about personal finance, from credit cards to rewards cards and more. Her helpful articles appear on various money saving sites.