Do you ever wish that you could roll like a baller, jetting around the world on a whim and staying in the finest hotels? Even if you’re not traveling first class, you could be traveling better.
I attended the Denver Travel and Adventure Show recently and sat in on a presentation by Brian Kelly, the founder of The Points Guy, the preeminent voice on using points from loyalty programs and credit cards for travel.
Though I was in absolute fan-girl mode (I’ve been following TPG for a long time), I took a whole host of notes to share with you, dear friends, on traveling better.
Traveling better with points and pointers
In no particular order, this was the advice from Brian and The Points Guy team:
Check out the Bilt credit card. Get travel points for paying your rent, without paying extra transaction fees.
Yes, get a branded airline card, but use it more for the perks and not the points. A general card such as the Chase Sapphire or Capital One card may have better points rewards, and they will transfer to any airline or other travel.
If flying Southwest Airlines, front-load your flights and points-earning with the Southwest card early in the year to achieve companion pass status. It’s good for the following full calendar year, plus the remainder of the year in which you earned it.
If you’re struggling with an urgent customer service issue with an airline, track down the person who oversees that department on LinkedIn and send them a message directly.
Traveling better means arriving with your checked bags. Place an Air Tag inside and take a photo of the outside; if it gets lost, you can send the location and a photo to the airline’s customer service team. (And choose a bag in a crazy color.)
Shopping online? Try out https://evreward.com/ to earn rewards for your purchases on top of the rewards you earn from your credit card.
Enroll all of your cards in their respective dining programs.
If you lose your luggage or have another issue (hotel, rental car, etc.), check your credit card’s protection; keep it handy during your trip.
So far only available for IOS uses, the LoungeBuddy app will tell you which lounges you already have access to; and if you don’t have access, you can purchase instant lounge access. (Lounges definitely make traveling better.)
With massive demand and fewer staff and routes, post-pandemic travel has been brutal. A few tips for traveling better during peak season.
- Have a backup plan.
- Make sure you have your airline’s app and turn on push notifications.
- Use Flight Aware to track your airplane; when the pilot files a flight plan for your airplane, you’re almost sure to take off.
- Check out ExpertFlyer to track down seat availability.
- If your flight is canceled, don’t hesitate to ask for what you want, such as lounge access.
- Fly in at least a day before you need to be somewhere, such as at a wedding or departing on a cruise.
The Points Guy Team also mentioned the Aeroplan. I haven’t wrapped my head around how it works yet, but I’m going to take one for the team and try it out.
For more information on the basics of traveling better using points and miles, see The Points Guy’s guide to getting started with points, miles and credit cards.
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