Have a travel related question? Post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it as quickly as possible.
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Recommendations for a Casual Traveler
I have a quick question. I’m by no means a business traveler, but have started traveling abroad for pleasure again. If I’m traveling 2-4 times a year (domestic and international), is it better to try to rack up miles on certain cards like you’ve recommended in your posts or to go through a budget site like Travelocity or Expedia? Thank you in advance, any help is greatly appreciated!
Even the most casual traveler can benefit from racking up points.
I’d look at which types of places you spend the most in your everyday life (gas, groceries, restaurants, etc.) and start looking at cards that reward as such.
Also, earning points and miles for airfare doesn’t have to be exclusive from using a site like Expedia.
And as a side note, by all means use Expedia & Travelocity for research but once you find a fare you’re happy with, check directly with the airline to see if you can find that fare there. In case of irregular operations it always makes things easier if you’ve booked directly. In the case of hotels, some hotel chains won’t award points or honor status benefits unless you book directly with them.
I don’t find OTA’s like Expedia to necessarily be bargain propositions. Often the flights that are offered to a destination are not the premium ones but rather longer duration itineraries with more connections at a slightly reduced or often the same price as would be offered by buying direct from a specific carrier. I’d prefer to pay a few dollars more to spend less time in the air and transiting airports. It all depends on how you fly (economy or premium cabin), how often you fly, where you are based, when you fly, and your desired destinations. Remember also that if you fly economy one of the biggest benefits of specific carrier loyalty is getting a cobranded credit card that offers free checked bags and early boarding. I use a highly tailored approached based on which carrier I prefer and then get the cards that work with that airline directly or as transfer partners. Of course card bonus spend categories and sign up bonuses are great if you use the card regularly.