Travel Savings Tips From Travel Expert Chris Bunting

As most of you know I do an extensive traveling both domestically and abroad. A few of the tips I’ve layout below will help make anyone’s travel plans and travel experience much more enjoyable.

  1. Get a Credit Card with Airline Rewards


I’ve been a longtime subscriber of airline miles and bonuses. Not that everyone else in the world zips around the continent as much as I do but I feel like everyone can use at least some of the benefits that come along with being a travel miles subscriber. There are several different frequent flyer programs out there depending on which airlines you fly. Not taking advantage of the miles you accrue simply by flying on those airlines is ludicrous. Numerous airlines have partnered with credit card companies and banks to bring travelers the benefits of mileage perks.


I’ve been a Delta SkyMiles member for decades and have reaped the benefits of hundreds of thousands of dollars of American Express credit card spend. Pretty much everything I buy for both work expenses as well as personal purchases all run through my Amex credit card.


This approach is something that you must take with lots of caution. In order for the method of using your credit card for the fringe benefits that come alongside, you must be sure to always pay your balance IN FULL at the end of every billing cycle. Accruing unnecessary finance charges will nullify any benefits you may acquire with one of these type of credit cards. But if you’re a responsible credit card owner you can get some great features and benefits by participating in some of these offers.


  1. Use This Card(s) For EVERY Purchase


I use my airlines cards at the grocery store, the gas station, the department store and for all of my online purchases. Even my dining expenses are all places on my credit card. At the end of the month I simply review all of the charges and then pay the full balance that is due. It’s important that you ALWAYS pay the full balance in order to avoid any finance charges. Remember, we are trying to responsible credit card owners and we are utilizing the privileges of carrying these cards for our benefit. Any misuse will quickly dig yourself a hole you may have a hard time finding yourself out of.


  1. Don’t Forget About the Double Dip.


Many of these credit cards also have other benefits and features that allow you a two for one so to speak. For instance, when I use my credit card at participating restaurants, I get double and even sometimes quadruple mileage points. Choose where you eat wisely. It may pay you pack to choose the places that have deals in place with the card or banking companies that you possess. In addition to the dining double dip, many of the credit cards also have online shopping places where you can get a HUGE bang for your buck.


American Airlines as well as Delta Skymiles both have online shopping portals where users can accumulate an additional mileage benefit simply by shipping through their web portal. For instance, I was in the market for a new snowboard a few years ago. I looked online and found a few retailers that were offering year-end closeouts on the boards I was interested in. Then I went into both Delta’s SkyMall as well as AAdvantage’s Shopping portal to see who offered the most airline miles. Turns out that American Airlines had a deal with that gave me 14 miles per dollar spent bonus! I got my new board for almost half of what it originally retailed for and then I got the mileage bonus on top of that.


So my snowboard that originally retailed for over $600, I was able to get it for just a little more than $300. Multiply that number by 14 and that’s how many American Airlines miles I was awarded simply by buying through their portal. In addition, I hadn’t flown American in several years and I had a bank of miles that was about to expire due to inactivity. This simple purchase not only kept me active in their system, it also gave me enough miles for a free flight!


Don’t underestimate the power of these mileage programs. Even for the casual airline adventurer there is great benefit in keeping up with and accruing bonus miles. Everyday purchases that you already make regardless of your travel plans can really help you make that next exotic vacation so much more affordable.