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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

NEW FEATURE! Tips & Tricks for Travel Savings!

Airline Credit Card PointsWant to see the World, but your bank account will only allow you to take a quick Uber to a nearby park? We would love to help you reach your dream destinations! We are introducing a new segment of the Sub Sea Systems blog, offering you money-saving travel tips and the inside scoop on travel deals. I’m Terrie Carrozzella, your “hostess” for this special travel series.

The first article takes a look at savings options via frequent flyer miles and hotel points programs. Opportunities to fly and stay in hotels at little or no cost are there for the taking, if you know where they’re hiding. Here are some ideas on how you can collect these freebies.

Airline or hotel-sponsored credit cards
credit cards with milesThe vast majority of airlines and hotels offer credit cards that give cardholders frequent flyer miles or points for stays. Typically, you can expect to earn a point or two per dollar charged on these cards. However, it’s the initial sign-up bonuses that make the big difference! Many credit cards promoted via airlines and hotels even offer bonuses such as a free round-trip flight or a free nights stay, if you spend a certain amount in a set period of time. While initially this may seem like a daunting task, consider making all of your purchases for that period with the card, no matter how small. Use that credit card instead of hauling out your checkbook or throwing down your ATM card.

Here are a few examples of the cards I recently obtained, and what I did with them:

Current bonus: spend $1,000 in three months and receive 50,000 miles.
I obtained this card about a year before I wanted to travel. I easily got to the required purchases by using this card for groceries, gas, and my morning coffee run. I added in a couple of trips to my local takeout counter and renewed my pet insurance a few weeks early, so that I could easily fulfill the requirement. My husband got the same card and paid for our car insurance, his monthly wine club subscription, and our propane bill. We each earned 50,000 miles each before the third month even arrived, and booked our flight to Hawaii.  We still have miles left over! Savings = $2,600!

With a similar program, we obtained America Express cards for Hilton points, and after spending the required amount, booked two nights at the Grand Wailea Resort (Waldorf Estoria). We only had to pay for parking and the obligatory resort fee.  Savings equate to approximately $950, allowing us to stay at a hotel that would typically be out of our reach financially.

Of course, the value of these credit cards only exists if you pay your balance every month. Incurring charges and paying fees defeats the purpose. You also need to be aware of annual fees that many cards charge. We typically opt to cancel our cards before we incur any fees. Note: most cards require a waiting period before you can reapply (but when you do, you get the bonus miles again!)

If you are not comfortable juggling credit cards, or you’re about to make a major purchase like a home or car and don’t want your credit rating to go up and down, there are other ways to obtain miles and points.

Give up Googling
There are companies online that offer bonuses for utilizing their search engines to do your internet sleuthing. For example, offers points if you download their “search and earn” feature. Additionally, you can take their surveys or click through ads, and earn points that you can then trade for airline and hotel gift cards. Want more points? Make online purchases via the mypoints site rather than going directly to shopping sites like JC Penney, and; click through their links on mypoints instead.

surveys can earn milesTake Surveys
If you have a few minutes per week to dedicate to your goal of free travel, consider taking online marketing surveys. These surveys are not constructed to annoy you with spam, but are utilized to gather information for new products, or for bettering existing products. Taking surveys not only gives you a voice in product development, it will reward you with points, miles, and other bonuses. Check out, e-rewards, or Jet Blue has started its own earning program via True Blue, which combines survey taking with ad click-throughs, to enable customers to earn and save money toward that trip of a lifetime!

Discount Gift Cards
A fair amount of savings can be obtained by purchasing discount gift cards for airlines and hotels., a discount gift card site, can be used to purchase a variety of gift cards at a reduced price. If you sign up for their emails, once per week you will receive a list of additional discounts available for the following weekend. It’s important to verify your cards when you receive them, and be aware of the rules and restrictions found on the site.

These are merely a few ideas on how you can earn miles and points, and get to the destinations on your bucket list sooner than you might have imagined.

How do you save money on travel? Share your tips below!


Terrie Carrozzella is the Web Designer & Social Media Manager for Sub Sea Systems. Want to contact Terrie about Sea TREK helmet diving, Clear Lounge underwater oxygen bar, or FunCat electric catamarans? Email her here!

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