Last month we shared an Instagram post about availing a heavily discounted hotel stay, thanks to our credit card points, and the most asked question on that post was about the different ways in which we use our credit cards and reward points while travelling the world.
I’ll be honest. The annual fee that needs to be paid for any credit card prevented us from getting one for a long time. Add to that the confusion of tracking points and using them. But after much evaluation and chats with other traveller friends, we got ourselves a credit card and we’ve never looked back! Upon using credit cards, we realised the annual fee more than pays for itself because of the amount of money one ends up saving through the year!!
Fast forward a few years – we have a number of credit cards and frequently use them for a variety of reasons while travelling. But for the purpose of this article, I’ll tell you five different ways in which we use our American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card while travelling. Every time we use this card, we earn ‘reward points’. You can keep saving them for bigger rewards. Whenever you are ready you can use them for cash back, buying gadgets such as smartphones and clothes at popular retail chains like Shoppers Stop and Lifestyle, or redeem the points for vouchers while travelling. We usually opt for the third option, this options provides the highest value to us.
I hope this post inspires you to use your credit card more, apply for one and just save a bunch of money on your travels 🙂 Here are 5 of our favourite pointers:
1) Understand what you’re getting
These days there are a variety of credit cards are available for a minimal annual fee. But they also offer minimal rewards. So make sure you understand what you’re getting before signing up for a credit card. Being an informed customer is essential, so do your research well. For eg if you are a frequent traveller or you dine out regularly, then it makes sense to choose a card that will help you save money while you are travelling or dining.
Of course that’s not all – make sure you use your credit card for more mundane everyday things as well. For instance, if you’re an AmEx Platinum Travel card holder in India, you can actually save a bunch by getting vouchers worth INR 19,500 redeemable on any hotel or airline on spending just Rs.4 lacs per card membership year.
2) Use your welcome bonus well
Once your credit card is approved, you can get a Welcome Gift of 5,000 Membership Rewards Points redeemable for Travel Vouchers worth Rs. 4,000. We chose to keep our reward points and used those towards a vacation with Savi’s mom but you can use it towards any experience you please. Just make sure you use it well and that will help save you a bunch of money 🙂
3) Get reduced airfare and lounge access
Of course the welcome bonus is a one-off thing. But you can continue to save a lot on your air fare if you use your reward points well. For instance, if you spend over a 4 lacs in the year, you get a travel voucher worth Rs.19,500 which you can then use to get free flights
Talking of flights, you know we spend a lot of time at airports. With our credit card, we can get access to a lot of lounges across India 4 times in a year (limited to 1 visit per quarter). This is amazing because you don’t need to use your reward points for this or have a first class or business class ticket. You automatically get lounge access by virtue of being a Platinum Travel Card Holder.
4) Complimentary Hotel stays
Vid loves his airfare deals, but it’s the hotels that get me most excited. Because we spend a large chunk of our year in hotels, this is also the one perk we use most often. If you’re a luxury traveller, then you’ll love this! You also get additional perks. For e.g. if you spend over 4 lacs in a year, you get an additional Taj Experiences Gift-Card worth Rs.10,000 for your complimentary hotel stay.
5) Benefits on travel portals
If you love travel as much as we do, then make sure you use your reward points towards deals at American Express Domestic Travel Online website. There are numerous benefits on travel bookings panning hotels and airfares, so make sure you check and compare costs before booking a vacation for yourself – money saved is money earned! 🙂
That’s it. These are the 5 ways in which we use our credit cards while travelling. Of course, that’s not all. There’s a variety of other benefits such as discounts at restaurants, fuel stations etc. But these are the 5 ways in which we use our reward points most often!
Let us know if you’d like a Part II of this post – 5 more ways in which we use our credit cards while travelling such as car rental upgrades and perks on cruise ships? Also let us know if you’d like us to go into detail about any of the points above? Just leave us a comment below and we’ll make sure we answer it for you 🙂
Disclaimer: We worked with American Express on a project this year. However we have been using credit and debit cards for ages and are 2 extremely opinionated ninjas, so all opinions (good, bad, and hyperbolic) are our own. Read our Disclosure Policy for further information.