Vagabonding & Backpacking With Frequent Flyer Miles
Perhaps one of the greatest trials for a vagabond is financing the trip. Travelling the world can be a costly expenditure; aside for the fact that you may not be earning any money during the time spent travelling. Credit card points and frequent flyer miles can help reduce the cost of travel expenses.
The most common way to use frequent flyer miles is by redeeming them for flights. The problems arise, however, when airlines blackout dates and impose restrictions that involve transferring miles between airlines, and only allow specific flights between countries. Many members are circumventing this by attempting to sell frequent flyer miles. The process is simple; an online buyer buys the miles and pays in cash. Some buyers will even send out the check on the day of the purchase. The cash earned can then be used to book a flight at your convenience. Just be sure that the buyer of miles deals with the credit card company or airline that your miles are from. Most buyers will allow you to sell Amex points, and will have varying policies in regard to other companies.
Many credit cards offer perks in relation to hotels, something that most vagabonds and backpackers do without, instead relying on more cost-effective hostels and campgrounds. Sometimes, however, a car rental is a necessity. While points and miles are usually best used for flights, some cards offer great deals on car rentals. These cards are: Chase Sapphire Preferred, which offers 2.14 miles per dollar spent. The American Express Starwood Consumer and Starwood Business offer 1.25 miles per dollar spent. The Chase Ink Bold Exclusives Program offers 1.2 miles per dollar spent, and the Chase Freedom Exclusives Program provides 1.1 miles per dollar spent, with an additional 10 miles per transaction. The Costco American Express card offers 2% cash back, and both the Continental OnePass Plus and United Mileage Plus Explorer give free primary CDW insurance. These cards are some of the most benevolent when it comes to car rentals.
When purchasing gear before or while on a trip, some credit cards offer cash back on gas and groceries, while others offer periodic promotions. For example, American Express held Small Business Saturday in 2011, one Saturday during which card holders would receive a $25 rebate for anything purchased from a small business. Before purchasing gear, check with your credit card company to see if any of their perks would apply to your purchase. Another factor to take into account is that some credit cards offer free international transactions, an important factor when traveling overseas. Credit may also be a lot more convenient than constantly converting currencies, and inevitably losing money along the way.
There are people who dedicate much of their time switching between credit cards in an effort to buy themselves vacations for pennies. Even without dedicating so much time and effort, with the right credit card and a little bit of research any vagabond can cut down on their travel expenses.