The convenience offered by credit cards is undeniable. From tiding over short-term credit needs, to payments and reward points for spends, the benefits are numerous. If planned properly and used well, credit card reward points can be redeemed for a plethora of benefits such as shopping of groceries, apparel, and accessories at both online and offline stores. You can use reward points instead of payment at pre-determined websites and stores, utilise reward points to pay your credit card outstanding, make use of points to get discounts at movies, restaurants etc. and also use points for travel booking and stay at hotels.
The benefits are many and suit each individual, in one way or another. However, using credit card reward points for travel bookings and stay brings in a lot of value and at the same time can be done easily. All it requires is a bit of smart planning.
These pointers would help you make the most of your travel plans with credit card rewards points.
Use the right co-branded credit card: There are many cards in the market that are designed keeping in mind frequent travellers. If you fly frequently for business or personal reasons, an airline co-branded credit card would be best for you. Using these cards you could earn either reward points or airline miles. These miles can be used to book flight tickets and you can earn some upgrades for being a loyal customer.
Some cards offer you travel vouchers, when you spend over and above a certain amount. When you have travel bookings on your mind, it is good to channel your spending through such cards. Credit card issuers also come up with airline tickets and vouchers as a welcome gesture, when you apply for a card.
Make effective use of online mileage calculators: You might be overwhelmed by the number of reward points in your account and their conversion to air miles. Each airline has an online mileage calculator that gives you the destinations where you can fly with your miles. If you plan to fly to a destination beyond what your points allow, you would just need to make a small payment.
Scout for online travel agencies that partner with your credit card: Certain credit card issuers partner with online travel agencies to allow you to pay at their sites with credit card reward points. Make sure to scout for such deals before you make your holiday bookings. Some cards also have tie-ups with hotels; make sure to check that hotels for your destination are available under these tie-ups.
Maximize spending at partner deals: Credit cards also partner with online shopping sites, restaurants, apparel and other stores, where spending can get you amplified reward points. Certain types of spending get up to 10X rewards. If you fall short of points for travel bookings, channelizing your normal spending through these partner sites or stores could quicken your process of accumulating points.
Make use of credit card concierge services for travel bookings: Many cards spoil you with a concierge that looks after all your travel bookings and allows you to concentrate on your work. Lounge access at most airports, where you can relax before you catch a flight, is an added benefit on most credit cards.
While there are brownie points that come in the form of rewards associated with each spend on your card, it is very important to make sure that you regularly clear outstanding balances on your credit card. Only then you can make the best use of your reward points.The writer is Co-founder and CEO, CreditMantri