With 2016 underway, now is the time to plan your next vacation. While you may already have a few ideas in mind, consider using your loyalty miles and points to travel to some of the world’s most popular destinations. These four travel hacks will turn your dream vacation into reality.
Look for flash sales on loyalty points
Flash sales are a great way to quickly accumulate loyalty points at a discounted price – but you have to move fast. Once you’ve identified an airline that flies to your dream destination, keep an eye out for their promotional emails and even on their social media accounts for the announcement of these flash sales.
Flash sales are especially prevalent around holiday seasons. In fact, the number of flash sales more than doubled during the three weeks after Cyber Monday, with 9 p.m. eastern time being the best time of day to look.
While the holidays are a hot time for these flash sales, they aren’t the only time loyalty programs offer points at a discount. Look for promos related to other holidays throughout the year such as Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day and Labor Day. Use these deals to gather extra points toward your preferred airline or begin racking up points for any airline that travels to your vacation destination.
Avoid blackout dates with reward credit cards
As you earn more miles and points, don’t let your vacation be dictated by blackout dates. Rewards credit cards are a great way to rack up miles and points that you can apply to any airline – but it’s important to read the fine print before you get started.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of many reward credit cards that give travelers the flexibility needed to contend with busy schedules. Card members earn two miles for every dollar spent on all travel purchases and these miles can then be redeemed for one cent apiece - meaning you’ll receive two percent back on every dollar you spend while traveling. And most importantly, the miles are airline agnostic, meaning they can be used for any flight you want.
Transfer points between loyalty programs
Instead of racking up miles and points for a number of different loyalty programs, consider transferring points between them. If you have accumulated loyalty points across a range of programs, consider pooling your resources and using platform like the Points Loyalty Wallet to transfer them all into a single program.
Travel loyalty programs often team up with one another to offer travelers bonus miles and points just for transferring. For example in 2015, members who converted their Marriott Rewards points to American Airlines AAdvantage miles received a 20 percent bonus. Check your inbox frequently for these types of promotions.
Refer a friend
Referral programs are a popular way to earn miles and points without having to fly yourself – let your friends do the work for you. For example, the Miles More Friends referral program from Virgin Atlantic rewards you for telling your friends about the Flying Club. Earn 2,000 miles if they take their first round trip in Economy, 5,000 if they travel in Premium Economy and 10,000 if they book a trip in Upper Class. Your friends will also benefit from the program by receiving up to 3,000 bonus points when they take their first flight.
Consider these four travel hacks to maximize your miles and points, and get you to your dream vacation this year.