How do you travel so much? This is one of the biggest questions I’m asked. Well travel costs can be some of your biggest expenses when traveling so, first off lets try and cut that price down. I do this with the power of travel points! I recently booked a flight to Bangkok, Thailand from Grande Prairie, Canada for $210. Most people can’t fly within Canada that cheap. How did I do it? I will tell you now!
There are many ways to save money on flights. Now first off this post is only information I have obtained from my own experiences. This is by no means the only way to get cheap flights, but the way I get cheap flights. But the biggest thing you can do to find cheap flights is do your research! Look on travel sites such as Expedia, Kayak and local airlines. To find out about local airlines I use wikitravel to be an awesome resource although some information can be dated.
But what are my tips?
Step 1: Sign up for a rewards system. Now be sure to read up on the points program your using. Some points do expire after a certain amount of time. My suggestion would be look at where you go shopping for regular things, such as groceries and fuel for your car if they take a rewards card look into that card, you could be saving miles now just by sticking to a gas station or grocery store you go to already. Now I personally use Aeroplan and love them. They only expire after a year if you stop collecting them.
Step 2: Get yourself a travel credit card! I have 2 main travel credit cards I use. I stopped using my debit card quite awhile ago. I’ve since only been using credit cards to pay for everything I buy, and then pay it off with my online banking to ensure I do not get charged the high interest some of the cards carry. When I say everything I mean everything. Remember the old saying every penny counts. Well every mile counts in this case. So you run down to the store to get a coke. Use your credit card as it’ll be worth a mile. Not much at first but it will all add up after time. I use my credit card back home for everything I buy, and when I can when traveling. The main card I use is my TD Aeroplan credit card. When you sign up you can get bonus miles as well. So when looking into a travel card be sure to ask if you can get extra points.
Step 3: So when you buy something online, lets use iTunes as an example. You go on your phone into iTunes and then purchase a movie or song that you like then go on your way. Did you know that you can also get points in places like iTunes and even double if your using you travel credit card. I go to the Aeroplan E-store. I login with my aeroplane card and then I click the iTunes link and it then, open iTunes. Everything from then on I buy from iTunes while the app stays open I get Aeroplane points for. I only know from my experiences with Aeroplan but I know other travel point companies have sites similar to this as well. It is not restricted to iTunes either there are many companies who participate in these kind of deals. Just check out the E-store to see where you can be getting bonus points!
Step 4: Sign up for travel emails. I generally get tons of emails daily which most people would call junk mail but its how I find cheap flights to places I want to go to. Air Canada I have setup to send me deals on places I want to go to or go to frequently. I also get emails from Aeroplan letting me know of bonus miles I can sign up for. Sometimes all it is to get a few free miles is answer a survey which takes less then 5 minutes. This is what can lead to you getting a free flight to somewhere you wanna go vacation. I also find when I get theses emails, you can get any idea as to where all the cheap flights are heading too as well!
Step 5: Research. This is the biggest thing you can do. Talk with other travellers and people with experience. They can help you a lot, with questions like whats the cheapest airport to fly into. I’ve also had very good experiences with companies like Flight Centre. Travel agents are generally update on what ports of entry are cheap to fly into. There are often airlines who have new routes that startup and have introductory fares with them so if you hear a rumour like West Jet bought new jets to start flying to London, England. Jump on there website and do some research. You never know what you may find. If you have the time I highly suggest looking around online at what your flight options are. If you are to busy with work then I suggest try a travel agent such as Flight Centre and see what they can do for. I’ve used a travel agent once before and they do help a lot with the flight planning and sometimes will have better deals then I can find online. You can always use both as resource as well.
In this past year I also found out about bereavement flights. These are flights that airlines will discount if you are traveling due to a death in your direct family. They will require some proof, but from my experience they may just ask for the funeral homes name so that they can get a letter from the funeral director.
I hope this helps you start planning your next trip and gets you a cheap flight to your next destination. What points system do you use? Have you gotten so free flight from using travel points?
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