Parents tell me constantly that they can’t afford to travel because they have kids. It’s true, the cost of traveling with kids is dramatically higher than going solo.
However, points and miles are a free currency that can be used to make traveling with kids within reach. Your two biggest expenses while traveling are typically your airfare and accommodations. Eliminating those expenses allows for funds to be re-directed to entertainment, food, and transportation upon arrival.
Don’t let children stop you from living out your travel dreams. Traveling with kids doesn’t have to break the bank. Read forward to learn how points and miles can save you thousands of dollars on your next family vacation.
Earning Airline Miles
There are three core ways to earn airline miles. Firstly, there are welcome credit card offers which can be a great starting boost to your mileage account. Secondly, you can spend money on the proper credit cards with additional bonuses for using shopping portals or partner offers. Thirdly, you earn miles for getting your butt into an airplane and flying somewhere.
With those three earning techniques you can accumulate airline miles using strategy. Each accumulation technique has limits for the average person. You can’t get unlimited welcome offers, spend unlimited money without going into debt, or fly around the world non-stop.
Earning airline miles is only a good idea if you don’t go into debt or bend over backwards in order to earn them. If you tank your credit score by applying to too many cards or max out cards with no ability to pay them off, then you missed the point of these free travel benefits.
Getting the right credit card on the right schedule for your lifestyle is not a one size fits all situation.
Earning Hotel Points
There are four main ways to accumulate hotel points at most major brands. Firstly, you can obtain credit card welcome offers with a high sign-up bonus. Secondly, spending money on your credit card with particular emphasis on money spent on hotels or restaurants within that hotel. Thirdly, booking events or conferences at a hotel sometimes even in the case of your employer footing the bill. And fourthly, going to spend the night at the hotel with added bonuses for special promotions.
Understanding the ways your lifestyle will most easily earn points is important to your free travel success. Applying for credit card welcome offers requires meeting a minimum spend during a specific time frame. Don’t use the welcome offer strategy if your lifestyle doesn’t have enough spend to successfully get the welcome offer.
Choosing a hotel brand that suits your future travel needs is equally important to learning earning strategies. Some hotel brands are more economical while others have ultra luxury properties in the most remote locations on earth. For the average person, generally you’ll want to select one brand and stay loyal to that company.
Consider your travel style and pick a brand which exists in the locations and at the budget you prefer.
Spending Airline Miles
The other side of traveling with kids for free is spending your airline miles efficiently. Not all spending strategies are created equal. There are three main ways to spend miles to get on a flight for free.
Firstly, you can book through a portal like American Express, Chase, or Citi. Secondly, you can transfer points from your American Express, Chase, or Citi card to the airline you want to fly on. Thirdly, you can transfer your American Express, Chase, or Citi card to a partner airline which has lower redemption for the ticket you’re looking to book.
As time goes on you’ll get to know what an average redemption costs on different flight paths. Flexibility is your best friend when it comes to spending your miles wisely. Just because you have a lot of miles now doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful and strategic about spending them.
My preference is to pay cash for all flights below $600 and utilize miles on only first class airfare long haul flights.
Spending Hotel Points
Using hotel points can be the difference between a standard room overlooking the parking lot and an epic suite with a view of the ocean. Parents traveling with kids will especially love having a separate bedroom without paying for two rooms.
Your options for using hotel points are more limited. Depending on the hotel brand you can use your points for an entire free night or a partial free night. At most hotel brands the point redemption will vary from night to night.
Hotel points have a range of value from economical to ultra luxury. You can stretch your points out by getting many nights at a generic property or very few nights at an epic property. The choice is yours.
My preference is to pay cash for hotels costing less than $150 per night and utilize points for luxury hotels with lounges and elite member perks.
Travel for FREE With Kids
Eliminating financial obstacles makes traveling with kids much less stressful. Earning points and miles can be a free currency that you can exchange to travel with your kids for free.
I’ve taken my kids to nine countries using points and miles. Most of our flights have been first class and most of our hotel rooms gave us parents a separate sleeping area from the kids.
Even if your kids won’t remember the trip, you will remember. Don’t use your kids as an excuse not to travel. Use your kids as the reason to travel and create experiences you’ll never forget.