Are you frustrated by the travel rewards offered by your credit card? You’re not alone. Over half of Canadians (56 per cent) say their travel rewards credit cards don’t let them travel on the airline they desire, according to a recent poll by RBC.
Whether you’re a snowbird looking to soak up the rays in coastal Florida, or a university student looking to spend spring break in Sin City, it can be very frustrating when you can’t book the flight to the destination you want. So what’s the secret to a healthy travel rewards relationship?
Credit Card Rewards Are Confusing
Limitations on the airlines and destinations aren’t the only thing Canadians are up in arms about. Nearly four in 10 of poll takers (39 per cent) said their rewards program is confusing, while 38 per cent said the programs rules kept changing, and nearly a third (31 per cent) had issues when it came time to redeem those hard-earned points for a five star vacation. Similar to relationships with loved ones, there comes a time when enough is enough and it’s time to move on. If you’re suffering from any of these symptoms, it may time to break up and start a new travel rewards relationship.
“Like any relationship, Canadians want to get the most out of their loyalty program, particularly when it comes to travel rewards,” says Linda Mantia, executive vice-president of Cards and Payment Solutions at RBC. “Booking travel with rewards points doesn’t have to be complicated. If your current rewards program isn’t working for you, maybe it’s time to consider moving on.”
A Healthy Travel Rewards Relationship
Before you sign up for a travel rewards credit card it’s important to know the rules of engagement. The last thing you want to do is spend years accumulating points, only to find out you can’t book the flight you want. Here are some important things to know before you make a long-term travel rewards commitment.
- Travel Restrictions: What’s the point of spending years saving points if you can’t travel where you want? Would it surprise you to hear that most programs don’t allow you to choose airlines – it’s often up to the discretion of the reward program. Not only does this make it difficult to get the flight you want, you might not even be able to arrive on the day you want.
- Peak Season: If your dream vacation is planned during a peak season like Christmas, you better read the fine print or you might find yourself stranded at the airport without a ticket. Some travel rewards programs put a restriction on peak seasons or make you redeem additional points for popular destinations.
- Point Confusion: If you can’t understand the point system of your rewards program, chances are you aren’t going to any better when it comes time to redeem your point for a sunny locale. Not only is it important to find a program where it’s easy to redeem without jumping through hoops, you also want a points system that’s easy to understand.
- Freedom of Choice: Is your program full of restrictions or do you have the choice to redeem your points when and how you want? Whether you want to cash in your points for a trip or to purchase groceries, the more options, the better.
There’s never been a better time to be a credit card holder; TD and CIBC may have freshly inked their deal over Aeroplan, but you can be sure other lenders will be offering a slew of travel rewards options to appease displaced credit card clients – or even those just looking for a fresh change. No matter what kind of perks you’re after, it’s just important to ask questions and read the fine print to make sure you get the travel rewards you rightly deserve.
Looking for travel rewards? You may also want to try: The Scotiabank Gold American Express Card>