3 Ways to Maximize Travel Rewards

It’s no secret that I love to travel, and I know all of you do too! But travel can be extremely tough to do when it comes to budget. Once you factor in prices of plane or train tickets, hotels, food, excursions/attractions, etc., it can seem a bit daunting. And while those costs aren’t going to go away completely, there are a few things you can do to maximize travel rewards and help minimize your actual spend on travel! There are a couple affiliate links in here, but this isn’t a sponsored post by any means. I hope you find these helpful!

maximize travel rewards

Sign Up for Loyalty Programs

The first step to maximizing travel rewards is signing up for FREE loyalty programs with your favorite travel companies (e.g. airlines, hotels). Or heck, even all of them! By doing this, you’re able to accumulate points and redeem them down the line, rather than losing out! A good non-specific site to sign up for? Hotels.com, where you’ll earn a free hotel night after paying for 10 nights at any hotel you book through their site. If you’re already staying at hotels, may as well take advantage of the freebie!

Shop Through Online Portals

This has been the key for me in racking up points/miles quickly. Most airlines (at least the big players) have a portal for online shopping. Each week, new promotions are available (you must click on the link in the portal to get the credit – it’s kind of like an affiliate link), allowing you to earn 1+ points per $1 spent depending on the retailer. I’ve been lucky enough to snag promos up to 8pts/$1 on my Sephora and Nordstrom purchases! And from time to time (think back to school or Christmas seasons), additional promos are available earning you 500+ points just for spending a certain amount shopping through their portals. ALL of my online shopping is done here! Since I fly Southwest so much, their Rapid Rewards Shopping is my main site, but I’ve used Delta’s Skymiles Shopping as well.

Use a Rewards Credit Card

This is the most obvious one. If you’re in the market for a new credit card, consider a general rewards one or one with your favorite airline, so you can easily rack up points! My favorites (the two I use) are the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa. Both are foreign transaction fee-free (no additional charges when traveling internationally), and provide 2 points for every $1 spent on travel. In addition, the Sapphire Preferred gives you double points for every $1 on dining out, and allows you to transfer points directly to your preferred airline loyalty account. Upon sign up, you’ll also receive 30-50k points (depends on the available promotion and requires a specific spend in the first 3 months), which automatically gets you a free roundtrip flight! The only downside is that both have an annual fee, but so far it’s been worth it for me. If you’re looking to narrow down to one, I’d go with the Chase Sapphire Preferred (points also transfer to Southwest).

How do you maximize travel rewards?

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  • Those are great tips, I’ve heard wonders of the southwest rewards, I would definitely take advantage of it if I were stateside.

    • I fly Southwest pretty often so it’s great! I’m sure there are some pretty good programs internationally as well to sign up for!

  • I love my Chase Sapphire card…it is seriously the BEST for travel rewards!

    • Me too! Double point travel + food purchases are so awesome!

  • I love reward cards! Great tips :)

    • Thank you! Rewards cards always make me feel better about buying things :)

  • Rae

    Great common-sense advice. Many of us have these programs in place and forget to use them to our maximum benefit.

    • Thanks! The (free) loyalty rewards sign-up is the biggest no-brainer one, and I think the one we all forget to use the most :) Hopefully this is a good reminder to take advantage of it!

  • I put everything on my travel credit card! Its paid me back over $800 in 6 months without buying anything I wasn’t already buying!

    • Oh, easily! It’s so worth it! I use my card for all of my purchases so I can rack the points up!

  • I just got my Capital One rewards credit card and am so excited about no foreign transaction fees!! I heard Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card to have, too!

    • Yay! No foreign transaction fees will be especially great for you over in China! I hope you’re able to plan some more adventures with the points you’ll earn :)

  • DT

    I love the points that come with travel credit cards— I was able to visit few places just on points!
    — DT | Here I Scribble

    • Me too! Where did you cash your points in to visit?