Six ways to bag a travel freebie

When Australia’s international borders eventually reopen, will travel be cheaper than we are used to, or more expensive?

There are differing opinions on this, with some believing travellers will need to be coaxed into travelling again, while others believe new protocols will make the experience much more expensive.

Regardless of which way it lands, there are things you can get for free when you are ready to start travelling again, if you have the right cards in your wallet or purse.

Here are just some of the ways you can bag travel freebies.

Complimentary travel insurance
Some credit card providers offer insurance for overseas travel. This is sometimes advertised as ‘complimentary’ insurance. Often it is included in the credit card’s fees (like the application fee or annual fee) or its interest rate.

Usually, you need to pay for a certain amount of travel costs with your credit card to be covered. For example, pay for your return flight or your accommodation. Each policy is different, so make sure you check with your provider.

Free flights
There are many things you can spend your frequent flyer points on these days, but let’s not forget the most important one – flying! Depending on what card you have, and who you fly with, it can sometimes be difficult to find an available award flight that suits your requirements.

One of the most important things to remember if you want to take full advantage of your frequent flyer points is to book your trip well in advance to make sure there are plenty of free flights available.

Free accommodation
If you can’t find a suitable flight to use your frequent flyer points on, then you may have better luck trying to use them to secure free accommodation. It isn’t always the best value way to spend your frequent flyer points, but it is important to remember that you can use your points to save in ways other than flying.

Free upgrades
This is often the best value way to use your frequent flyers points. Paying for an economy seat and then using your points on a flight upgrade is often the best way to go.

Qantas actually has an upgrade calculator to help you work out how many points you’ll need for an upgrade.

Qantas also has a program called Bid Now Upgrades that allows you to use a mixture of cash and points to ‘bid’ on an upgrade. This may be a way you can get your upgrade without ‘spending’ all your points. Sometimes you can pick up an international upgrade for as little as 5000 points.

Airport lounge passes
Airport lounges are near the top of people’s lists when it comes to satisfying air travel.

One of the many perks offered by certain credit cards is complimentary access to some of these airport lounges. If your card holds this feature and you’ve got a trip coming up, it can pay to know how it works and what the limitations are.

Free concierge service
Some premium credit cards also come with access to a 24/7 worldwide concierge. This service gives cardholders insider knowledge in every city they visit – no more fumbling through a foreign language book to order seats at a show or struggling with directions from a guy on the street. The service can help you book flights, hotels, concerts, restaurants and events. Most platinum credits cards offer a concierge service of some kind.

What travel freebies do you have with the cards in your wallet or purse? Which ones do you use most often?

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Written by Ben Hocking

Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.

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