Whether you’re planning your winter vacation, spring break or seasonal migration south, we’re all looking for a break on travel expenses.
Credit cards can be a great way to save on travel. From free flight bonuses, to free hotel nights Canadian credit cards offer promotions, perks and benefits that can have you travelling on someone else’s dime in no time. Here are just a few strategies to help you take-off for free on your next vacation:
1. Welcome Bonuses: Instead of spending $25,000 to earn enough miles for a free flight, why not just sign-up for a new card with a hefty bonus and get 25,000 miles for a free flight instantly? New card bonuses are the fastest and easiest way to earn a free trip.
Many of Canada’s best travel credit cards offer massive welcome bonuses. When looking for a sign-up promotion, try to find one that waives the first year annual fee, offers enough points for a free long-haul round-trip flight, and does not require significant minimum spend to be eligible for the promo.
2. Annual Companion Ticket: Some credit cards in Canada offer anniversary companion vouchers each and every year you keep your credit card open. The Alaska Airlines companion ticket can get you companion airfare to Hawaii for $121 USD, while the WestJet voucher can get your companion a return ticket to anywhere in continental North America for $99, plus taxes and fees.
3. Free Hotel Nights: Don’t just focus on free flights, sometimes hotels can be the most expensive part of your trip. Canada has several credit cards with annual fee waivers that offer multiple free hotel nights just for signing-up. Take for example the Chase Marriott Rewards Visa card that offers up to 4 nights free, no annual fee the first year, a free night each year you keep the card open.
4. Free Checked Bags: The cost of travel doesn’t stop with airfare. With checked baggage costing as much as $30 per bag each way, getting a credit card that offers you free checked baggage can be a huge savings.
The RBC WestJet World Elite MasterCard offers the primary cardholder and up to 8 travelling companions free first checked baggage, making it a steal for families.
5. Free Foreign Transaction Fees: One of the more frustrating expenses when travelling are the foreign transaction fees credit cards companies charge on non-Canadian purchases. Most cards charge around 2.5% on top of the foreign exchange fee charged by Visa or MasterCard.
Canada has several credit cards that subsidize foreign transaction fees, including the Chase Marriot Rewards card and the Amazon Visa card which waive the 2.5% foreign transaction fee and the Rogers and Fido MasterCards which offer 4% cashback on foreign purchases.
So before you use your hard earned cash to pay for your next vacation, see how many points and perks you can rack-up to get you there instead – for free.
Marc Felgar is a credit card expert & online entrepreneur from Montreal, QC. He is the CEO and founder of http://www.GreedyRates.ca, which helps Canadians find the best credit card through online comparison tools, filters, credit card reviews and the latest deals and offers in the marketplace.