What is a reward travel? Is it possible to travel for free? The simple answer is yes, thanks to reward travel. Reward travel is when you use special points earned over time in exchange for airplane tickets or booking hotels during your trip.

You could be missing out on a lot of opportunities to earn points for reward travel based on your everyday life. Learning more about reward travel can help you take that dream vacation sooner than you think.

Get Started with Miles and Points

Reward travel can be redeemed using miles or points. The first step to reward travel is to begin the process of collecting miles and points that you can use later after accumulating enough for a trip.

Loyalty Miles vs Credit Card Points

The best choices for getting miles and points are either through airline loyalty programs or with credit card points. Many times these can be interchanged so using a combination of them both can be beneficial to getting rewards faster.

Airline loyalty programs are set up for frequent flyers of a specific airline (or airline partners). People who are already booking trips through these airlines can sign up for frequent flyer programs and earn additional miles based on their current trips.

Best Airline Loyalty Programs: Delta Airlines & United Airlines

Travel is one of the most popular purchases with credit card points. Credit cards offer points whenever you use their card for other purchases.

Credit Cart Points = Cash Back Offers

For example, you may receive two points for every dollar spent with a Chase Sapphire Card or even 15,000 bonus points for spending a minimum of $30,000 with an Amex Premier Rewards Gold.

TIP: Offers are always changing, and each company offers something different, so do your research on the best program or credit card that already fits within your lifestyle and spending habits.

Accumulate Miles and Points

Now that you’ve chosen your ideal method of collecting points, the next step is the pleasant part: accumulating lots of points for free trips! There are several ways to begin earning points and miles with loyalty programs or credit cards.

Two ways to utilize airline loyalty programs for getting miles to use for reward travel:

  • Fly frequently with the airline.
  • Use the airline shopping platform.

Frequent Flying

If you already make frequent trips, an airline loyalty program may offer you 2x or even 3x points for each mile that you’re flying. If you’re flying from New York to Los Angeles, the 2,800-mile flight could earn thousands of bonus points.

Airline Shopping Platforms

Another way to generate points with airline loyalty programs is by utilizing their shopping platforms. Airlines provide users with a designated platform to browse top shopping brands, anything from Target to Amazon, and even luxury store like Neiman Marcus.

Whenever you make purchases online through the platform, you’ll earn bonus points for travel for each dollar that you spend.

Getting Credit Card Points

Credit cards operate in a similar way to airline shopping platforms, except you can take them everywhere. Whether you’re shopping online or in a retail shop, you’ll earn a point multiple based on each dollar that you spend.

Don’t Forget About Hotels

You can also find loyalty programs with hotels. Most of the top hotel brands including Hilton and Marriott offer reward programs that give you bonus points to go towards free nights stay for every night that you spend at either of the hotels under the brand.

TIP: Keep an eye out for sign-up bonuses for credit cards and airline loyalty programs. To attract users, offers can be for 50,000 or upwards of over 100,000 points just for signing up for a program. These usually have minimum requirements to receive the bonus points.

Redeem Your Points for Free Travel

After you’ve accumulated a respectable amount of points, it’s time to trade them in and start taking advantage of free travel! After all of the time and effort spent generating more points for your accounts, you’ll be glad to know that every point has a dollar value, varying depending on what you’re purchasing with the points.

Buy Airplane Tickets With Points

The more points you have, the more tickets you can buy or even opt for upgrades to your travel experience.

  • A round trip ticket on Air Canada to a destination may usually cost $800-1000, but with 25,000 points, you can book the same ticket.
  • Instead of spending extra on a first-class ticket out your pocket, use points to upgrade your ticket and enjoy the comfort of luxury during your flight.

TIP: Some programs include flight extras such as credit towards baggage fees, in-flight entertainment, or even lounge access.

Bonus Tips to Reward Travel

  • Find deals with transferable points. Accumulating points in different programs and pooling them together for a larger sum is much more effective than having a few points on a lot of platforms that can’t be used.
  • When signing up for credit cards, keep an eye out for annual fees. The fees you pay when trying to take advantage of an offer can offset the benefits gained.
  • Be responsible when accumulating points. The best way to earn points is by maintaining your usual spending habits, not making new purchases just for the points.