When you think of luxury travel, you often think dollar signs, yachts and private jets, right? Well, there are all kinds of indulgent traveling that you can do without breaking the bank and by using things you already have to make your affordable trip seem like a more expensive one.
Your biggest asset? Your frequent flyer account. If you don’t have one, you should sign up for one – or several – as soon as possible. Not only are they free, but if you only fly on a couple of airlines, you can really rack up the miles, which can be used for any number of things. Gain even more points by switching to a credit card that offers you miles on your preferred airline with every purchase.
Here are just a few things a frequent flyer account can get you that make you feel richer than you are.
Free flights – One of the biggest things you can trade your miles for are flights. For a minimal fee, you can enjoy an almost free flight to whatever destination you choose. Farther destinations cost more miles and international flights may come with taxes and fees to be paid, but this really reduces your travel costs, giving you more money to spend elsewhere on your trip.
Free checked bag – I don’t think anyone likes to spend $25 or more to check their bag through to their destination, much less having to pay it twice. Depending on your frequent flyer status or the rewards card you have, you could be entitled to a free checked bag, saving you $50 or more on your overall flight. Then you just have to worry about your luggage showing up where you do.
Seat upgrade – Sometimes your status can get you upgraded for free, but you can always upgrade your seat to business or first-class with points you have accrued, giving you more elbow room and extra space for your legs. It’s awesome when your knees don’t touch the seat in front of you.
Lounge access - Ever wonder what it would be like to hang out in the business lounge with free Wi-Fi and the ability to use an outlet? Get some work done or just sit around and answer email or play on Facebook. Lounge access is granted to those with certain rewards cards or elite status and can really give you the peace and quiet you hope for while you wait for your flight at the airport.
Priority boarding – Hate having to wait for your row to be called before you can stand in line to get on board? The airport seems to have an endless supply of lines to stand in. Bypass at least one with priority boarding on all your flights on your favorite airline when you have preferred frequent flyer status. Get settled in and make sure you are able to use the overhead bin space when you need it, before everyone else boards with their bulky carry-ons.
It is so easy to join a frequent flyer program. Choose the airline(s) you travel on most, enter your contact info, hit enter and done. You get your member number and you can start earning miles right away. There are so many ways to earn, too, from flights, hotels, car rentals, purchases and more. You?ll be flying for free in no time and enjoying the perks that come with your membership.
About the Author
Shereen Rayle is author of the blog Shereen Travels Cheap and two budget travel books, including Secrets to Summer Savings. For years she has been planning her own vacations using the Internet to extend her limited budget as far as possible and shares the tips and tricks she has learned, along with useful sites like FareCompare.com, to help others get the most out of their travel dollars. And to further inspire budget travelers everywhere, she finds terrific travel bargains and posts them each day on her Facebook page.