Five Essential Travel Hacks You Need To Try This Year
Up your game with our list of top travel hacks that savvy travelers are using to travel smarter. From accessing lounges to obtaining error fares, there are a number of canny hacks that you could use to travel better this year. Read on for our round up of the best tips.
Travel Hack #1: Join a miles or points loyalty program
Most airlines and hotels run a points and miles loyalty program. It’s a great way to reward those who travel or stay frequently with their brand, and to entice consumers to book future travel. There are literally dozens of different programs that you can choose from, and most are completely free to join today. Even if you only fly occasionally, it’s still worth joining a frequent flyer program. And there are many ways that you can earn points on the ground, so you can boost your points or miles balance fast.
Travel Hack #2: Get a top rewards credit card
A top rewards credit card can get you earning frequent flyer points fast, moving you closer to your ultimate redemption goal. Often, rewards credit cards can allow you to earn points directly into your frequent flyer scheme of choice. And if you choose your card wisely, you could pick up a number of other valuable perks, too. For example, the Qantas AMEX Ultimate Card offers a number of generous perks in addition to the sign on bonus. Card member benefits include lounge access, travel insurance.
Do your research and choose a card that provides a high earn rate on ongoing spend, in addition to a generous sign on bonus. Bear in mind that most credit cards do come with some fees, so it’s important to read the fine print before you sign up.
Travel Hack #3: Find and book cheap error fares
Everyone makes mistakes, and the airlines are no exception. Ever so often, an error fare is published, allowing a lucky traveller to book travel in a premium class, often for a significant discount. While error fares are usually corrected very quickly, it pays to keep your eye on any new ones as they crop up.
How to do this? The simplest way is to subscribe to a site which monitors cheap and error fares. The leading sites to check include Secret Flying, Scott’s Cheap Flights and IWantThatFlight. Subscribe to their newsletters or bookmark these sites to check back regularly. And if you find a fare that you’d like to take advantage of, move quickly, as these fares are often pulled or corrected within minutes.
Travel Hack #4: Obtain a status match
Do you already hold gold or platinum tier status with an airline or hotel points and miles scheme? Often, companies are willing to ‘match’ or fast track you to a higher status if you can prove that you hold elite status with a competitor. You’ll need to request this specifically, and you’ll need to show that you can demonstrate that you’ll be a valuable and frequent traveller with them in the future. Requesting a status match can be very useful, particularly if you’re unlikely to re-qualify your existing membership for a subsequent year.
For an up to date report on which programs match and which ones deny, we like to check out Status Matcher. This website shares comprehensive field reports across airline, hotel and car rental loyalty programs, as well as tips from users on strategies to obtain a successful ‘match’.
Travel Hack #5: Pay for lounge entry
If you don’t hold elite status with an airline, or you haven’t got a rewards card that offers free lounge access, chances are that your time at the airport could be pretty miserable. However, it doesn’t have to be! Wouldn’t it be nice to kick back and relax before your next flight, or to have a shower after stepping off a long haul flight?
Many lounges around the world now allow travelers to pay for access. Schemes like Priority Pass and Plaza Premium manage a large network of lounges across the globe, making this a possibility.
We hope these travel tips and tricks have inspired you to travel better this year. Which ones will you be using?