|by Jason Steele||Questions and Opinions, Trip Ideas||0|
This year, many holiday shoppers will begin and end their trips to the store during the cold, dark nights of winter, and spend days trudging through the snow. Wouldn't it be nice if you could use your holiday spending to earn a much-needed trip to somewhere much warmer or well-deserved spring break vacation? Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to capitalize on your holiday shopping to do just that.
Earn rewards through spending
The simplest way to earn rewards in the form of points and miles during the holidays is to use the right credit card. Since spring break is a peak travel period, shoppers may wish to avoid earning traditional frequent flier miles that come with severe limits on their use. Instead, it's worth considering credit cards that earn rewards that can be redeemed for statement credits towards any available flight, hotel, car rental, or cruise. For example, the Capital One Venture Rewards card offers double miles on all purchases, and miles are worth one cent each as statement credits toward travel purchases. Similarly, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus also offers double miles that can also be used as statement credits toward travel reservations. Finally, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers double points for each dollar spent on dining or travel, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Points can be redeemed for 1.25 cents each toward travel reservations made through Chase's Ultimate Rewards travel center, or transferred to points and miles with travel providers.
Take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses
You would have to do a lot of shopping to earn enough points and miles for a free trip during spring break, but you can boost your rewards balance quickly by applying for a new card with a generous sign-up bonus. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card currently offers 50,000 points, worth $625 towards travel reservations, to new applicants who spend $4,000 on new purchases within three months of opening an account. The Capital One Venture Rewards card and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card both offer 40,000 bonus miles, worth $400, to new applicants who spend $3,000 on new purchases within three months of account opening.
Utilize online shopping portals
Most airline frequent flier programs and hotel loyalty programs offer an online shopping portal as a way for members to earn additional rewards. It's not uncommon to earn an extra 3–10 miles per dollar spent at popular retailers over the holidays. To use these portals, you first have to create an account. Then, you browse the retailers on the portal, and enter the site through its link. Finally, you make purchases the way you normally would, and earn additional points and miles beyond what you earn from your credit card rewards. Many airlines and hotels also offer a dining rewards program that allows you to earn more points and miles when you eat at participating restaurants.
This article was written by Jason Steele, Credit Card Expert at CompareCards.com.