International travel can be an expensive proposition, but with the creative use of points and miles, it does not have to be so pricey. There are several methods that can be used to employ airline miles and points to lower, if not eliminate the cost of airfare to faraway destinations. With inexpensive plane tickets, vacationers can travel more efficiently and have more resources to expend at their destination on hotels, food, and entertainment.
Accumulating Points and Miles
The most difficult aspect of using points and miles for airfare is the accumulation of those points and miles in the first place. Travelers should always enroll in their airline’s frequent flyer program, and should choose to fly on one airline as much as possible to accumulate points as quickly as possible. For frequent travelers or those who travel often for business and can keep accumulated frequent flyer miles, this tried and true method will accumulate them enough points to afford an international ticket.
Flyers that travel less often may need to rely on other means to acquire enough frequent flyer miles to fly cheaply. These travelers should consider signing up for an airline credit card or other travel rewards credit card that can potentially award them with a signup bonus in miles, while allowing them to accumulate frequent flier miles on everyday purchases. These miles can then be used to purchase plane tickets without expending any cash. Travelers using this option should opt for a credit card with a major airline alliance (e.g. Star Alliance, Sky Team, or Oneworld) that have multiple airlines that serve several destinations.
Applying Points and Miles to Travel
One of the best ways to maximize the amount of traveling that can be done without spending cash is to be flexible on dates, times, airlines, and even destination. The cost of travel in points or miles can change considerably across these variables, so it is important to be somewhat flexible in order to minimize the number of miles that need to be expended in order to travel for free. More adventurous travel types looking to have a foreign vacation without any specific destination in mind may find it prudent to do an open ended search for the lowest priced international plane tickets, and then expend miles to travel to those places.
No matter where they go, travelers should consider purchasing travel insurance to protect themselves while they are traveling. With these tips, the aspiring international traveler should be able to minimize the cost of airfare, allowing them to have a safe, risk-free, and enjoyable experience once they arrive at their destination.