My hubby suggested I write this post after he teased me for always having multiple deals for our travels. Here are all of the travel deals I’ve used so far or expect to use in 2024. Many discounts are tied to credit cards, but some are more unexpected.
$10 on food delivery: On a recent weekend trip, I ordered take out through GrubHub and Seamless because one credit card offers a $10 monthly credit on those food delivery services. And I picked it up on the way to our hotel!
$25 monthly dining credit: This is also a monthly credit on another credit. I just have to make sure that the credit card recognizes the code the restaurant uses as dining. At one restaurant, the credit card recognized it as a clothing company. Huh? I got the credit after I called the company and emailed a copy of my receipt.
Coupons and punch cards: We go to a restaurant near Waterbury, Vermont called the Filling Station. It emails me $5 off coupons from time to time. $5 might not seem like much, but something is better than nothing. Jimmz Pizza, also in Waterbury, has a good, old fashioned punch card that entitles you to a free pizza after 10 visits.
Cash back on gas:
I had a deal with a credit card for $2 back after spending $35 back on gas. I was just shy of the $35 mark recently, but the offer is good for a month, so I should be able to take advantage. Alternatively, you can use an app called Upside that has discounts on gas and restaurants. I’ve seen offers anywhere from 3 cents/gallon to 13 cents/gallon. I haven’t used Upside in in a while, but I do occasionally when traveling.
I can also designate gas as a rewards category on one credit card that allows me to earn 3% cash back. I drive alot, so that 3% can add up.
Hotel points: I used hotel points for my upcoming Hilton stays in Alaska. Hotels were an average of $400/night and I’m using points for a total of five nights in various cities. That’s roughly $2,000! I’m also using Hilton points for a two-night stay in Spain. That’s about $825 in savings! Sure, I had to spend money to accumulate points to use for those hotel stays, but I was spending the money anyway.
Airfare: I’m using miles to pay for our airfare to Alaska and to Spain. Roundtrip airfare to Alaska is around $1,200 per person. Our airfare to Spain is approximately $650 per person!
Airport parking: I’m a Parking Spot rewards member. I have Platinum membership with the Parking Spot Club through my Chase credit card. That entitles me to lots of perks including one day of free parking annually, premium parking upgrades, and bonus points (that I can accumulate to put towards free parking). The daily parking cost will depend on the airport you park at. For my preferred airport, covered airport parking is nearly $13/day. Using my Chase card, I can double dip on points – I can take advantage of the bonus points since parking is considered a travel category with my credit card, but I can also accumulate points with my Parking Spot rewards account. I can eventually use the Parking Sport points for free parking.
Ski pass: We have collective ski passes. This means that you pay one price for a pass that grants you access to multiple ski resorts. We have an Ikon pass, but other well know passes are Epic, Indy and Mountain Collective. One weekend ski trip basically paid for our passes. P.S. We also received two discounts when we bought our Ikon passes – one discount because we were return customers ($50 per person), and another to settle a COVID class action lawsuit ($10 per person). That’s $120!
Rideshare credit: I get a $10 per month credit on two separate credit cards. While I don’t use it this ften, I used it on a recent trip to New York. FYI: Uber/Lyft aren’t always the best deals in New York City. I’ve used the Curb app when I’m in NYC, but you can also use in cities like Philadelphia, Chicago and Miami, and I can use my monthly rideshare credit on Curb. Sometimes taking a cab is a better price, but I don’t get the credit.
Other ideas to save:
AAA/AARP discounts: Many hotels offer 10% discounts on stays. Be aware that sometimes these discounts are less attractive than the hotel rewards member rate.
Search Groupon and Local Flavor. It may not produce any deals on restaurants or activities you’re interested in, but you never know until you try!
Packing lunch: Not super sexy, but we frequently pack a simple brown bag lunch. I’m not opposed to eating out, but we recently spent $65 on lunch that was totally inedible. I would have been happy with a brown bag cheese sandwich!
Groupon and Local Flavor: Checking these websites for deals can also yield savings. I visited a friend in Miami and found discounted tickets for the Luminosa Chinese Lantern Light Festival at Jungle Island.
Total savings: A rough estimate is more than $7,000 in savings! That’s another trip! To be fair, actual savings are less if I back out annual credit card membership. Even so, the savings are significant. Be aware - All the strategizing requires paying attention to the deals available, their expiration dates, and if you’ll actually use them.
These are the ways I'm saving and maximizing on travel. I'd love to hear what you're doing.