Booking Your Holiday Using Travel Rewards

Winter is by far my favourite time of year to travel, mostly because I have an insatiable need for sunshine and heat, and as a Canadian girl, those are two things that I miss most during the winter months, which can sometimes be six months long. I’m not the only one. Many of you are the same, flocking to southern sunshine destinations as though your life depends on it. I am definitely not one of those people who travel to cold and snowy destinations in winter, unless it is the holiday season and I am going to see family or very close friends.

TD Bank (Toronto-Dominion) recently conducted a survey finding that 80% of Canadians are members of at least one travel rewards program, and may be thinking about booking their winter travel using their points.

When booking travel using points it’s important to think before you book. You have spent months collecting your points, so don’t throw them away. You want to maximize your points and get as much value as you possibly can, and TD Bank has some tips to help you:

Plan Ahead

Planning ahead will save you time and money. According to TD’s survey 70% of Canadians say that earning travel points is one of the best ways to make trips more accessible and affordable.

Traveling can be expensive at times, especially for those who book at the last minute, often missing out seat sales and hotel promotions. Start looking for travel deals at least three to four months before you plan to travel. Join the loyalty programs for airlines you are keen to use and subscribe to their newsletters as this is a great way to know when a hot deal is coming up.

Travel Rewards Credit Card

Having a travel rewards credit card is one of the fastest ways to earn travel points, but there are more benefits and perks than earning points. Most travel rewards credit cards also include travel insurance, concierge services, and airline perks. The key is to find a travel rewards credit card that suits your personal travel style.

I have flown with Air Canada for the last twenty years, and I have been an aeroplane member for the last fifteen. As such I want to maximize my rewards earnings and make sure the credit card I choose has perks that I would actually use – always look for perks you will actually use.

As an example the TD Aeroplane Visa card is probably the travel rewards credit card I would choose as I would earn 2 Aeroplane miles for every $1 I spend on Air Canada (which doen’t include the bonus points I would earn by booking online), and 1 Aeroplane mile for every $1 I spend on all my other purchases (which doesn’t include the points I would also earn by shopping at Sobeys and using my loyalty card). Another perk that I love is that as long as I have a TD Aeroplane Visa card my miles NEVER EXPIRE. I would also have access to 24/7 concierge service, and I still earn miles when using the card in the USA.

Gifting Your Miles

According to TD Bank’s survey, 30% of Canadians share their travel points with family and friends, and consider gifting them during the holiday season. This is a concept I never fully understood until last year when I was trying to convince my youngest brother to come home for Christmas to see my Dad. I work hard to earn my travel points, why on earth would I want to give them away?! Family trumps pretty much everything, and knowing I can use points to help bring family together is quite comforting, especially with my Dad’s health continuing to decline.

Using Points for More than Booking Flights

Believe it or not your travel points can be used for more than flight rewards. Most travel rewards programs will allow you to use your points for more than flights. Think about using points to book a hotel room, a show you really want to see, or a dining experience at a hot restaurant. Use your points to treat yourself, whether you want a little staycation or you want to stretch your travel dollars by using points to offset your hotel or food costs.

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