Making air travel more affordable can be as simple as scoring a credit card that rewards you for everyday spending or finding a domestic U.S. carrier with the international partner that has a frequent flyer plan that’s best for you. Here are hints that can help anyone who’s ready to take to the skies without draining the wallet.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card gives you one point for each dollar you spend at the grocery store or cleaners. But that’s not all: the credit card triples the points for every dollar you spend on travel and restaurant dining. Travel purchases such as baggage fees will earn you a $300 annual statement credit and the card provides reimbursements for lost luggage and trip delays.
You’ll get reimbursed also for the application fee you pay for expedited security check-in programs such as the T.S.A. PreCheck and Global Entry. Plus, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card opens the door to airport lounges through Priority Pass Select at no cost. The card also allows you to transfer point to hotel and airline loyalty programs like United MileagePlus, British Airways Executive Club, Marriott Rewards and World of Hyatt.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card does come with a hefty $450 annual fee.
Chase Sapphire members can look forward to another benefit in coming months. Chase is joining with Expedia in a partnership that will give card holders access to Expedia’s inventory of flights, hotels and vacation rentals, car rentals, and experiences and activities. The Expedia addition is an improvement to the Chase Ultimate Rewards online portal, where card users book trips, airfare, hotels and rental cars. Members can use their card or points or both at the Ultimate Rewards portal.
Looking for another smart way to spend those hard-earned points? Look for your domestic carrier’s international partner and sign on for the international carrier’s frequent flier programs. Then book your first class or business ticket through the partner that will charge you the fewest miles.
For instance, you can spend 60,000 miles for a domestic first-class ticket to Hawaii through KrisFlyer, the frequent flier program of Singapore Airlines. Go through KrisFlyer’s partner, United Airlines, and you will hand over 80,000 miles. The easiest way to find the partnerships that give you the deals you want is to look on airline websites for award charts. You’ll find, for example, that Delta Airlines, Korean Air and Hawaiian Airlines are in an alliance that offers you deals on all three airlines.
Savvy fliers know that getting an upgrade on an award ticket to a better class of service doesn’t have to cost a fistful of miles on some airlines. For example, Lufthansa, a United Airlines partner, requires 70,000 United MileagePlus miles for a one-way business class award ticket. The price of upgrading to a first-class seat on Lufthansa will cost you only another 40,000 miles.
Read More: Ways to Make Your Flight Better