How to Get the Best Value from your Travel Bookings
Like so many of you, travel with our kids and soaking in the enriching experiences that come from it is #biggoals and vision board official for our brood. But, let’s face it, travel is pricey, and one of the best ways for our large family to not to feel the bank account burn is stretching our dollars and return on travel investment as much as we can. So, today (as Toronto’s engulfed in a snowstorm and my wander-lusting is strong), I wanted to share how our gang gets the best value from our travel bookings:
*DISCLOSURE: This post contains referral links we may earn a small commission from should you choose to shop from them that we use to keep this platform running. All travel entities referred to in this post are ones we have either previously partnered with and/or have a genuine preference for. As always, all opinions are 100% our own. See our Disclosure for more info*
We use a high return travel credit card for all our big purchases
We’ve just booked our next Wintery adventure to Quebec City (which would have cost us $1200+ CDN) FREE by redeeming points we earned on purchases throughout 2018. We use a World Elite Mastercard which has one of the highest returns per dollar spent on the market. To find the best travel card for your family’s needs, check out LOWESTRATES.CA – an excellent financial literacy tool for Canadian families created to help you get the best value on services that compliment your lifestyle.
2. We sign up for travel rewards programs & accompanying newsletters
This may seem like a no brainer, but make sure you’ve signed up for your choice air travel carrier and vacation site’s rewards program prior to booking. You’ll be asked for your rewards number during reservations. In addition to earnings from your travel credit card, you’ll receive rewards points to apply to future travel and/or goods and services through their redemption programs. We belong to Aeroplan, WestJet Rewards & Expedia Rewards programs, and also subscribe to their newsletters to get a “heads-up” on discounted travel bookings & blow out sales! [*we always take advantage of travel savings by not booking for peak seasons (i.e. March Break, Winter Break, etc.) and wait for sell-off deals]. Some travel portals also have in-app exclusive savings (like Expedia), so make sure you download your fave travel apps too!
3. We book travel through Rakuten.ca for cashback incentives (*formerly Ebates.ca*)
If you’ve followed our blog for a while, you know using Rakuten.ca for many of our everyday family purchases is one of my best #smartshopper tips because you essentially get paid to shop online (no strings attached & FREE!). From holiday spending alone, I earned $115 bucks! Not many people know this but you can also book travel through the platform – Air Canada Vacations, Expedia, Travelocity, WagJag, Groupon, Fairmont, Intercontinental & Marriot Hotels, to name a few, are all partnered with Rakuten.ca. We just booked our April getaway to Mexico starting at Rakuten.ca, then booking a WestJet Vacation with Expedia. Bank your cashback earnings for future travel, or spend it on some travel essentials through other Rakuten.ca partners like Amazon.ca, Hudson’s Bay & Old Navy! (Tip: shop on “Super app Sundays” to earn EXTRA cash back when you use their mobile app, or on 2xs Cash Back days – sign up for their email to know when those are! Also, install their Chrome Extension to your browser to make sure you never miss a Shopportunity to earn)
So, to break it down for ya on how we got the best bang for our buck from our most recent travel booking, we earned four ways off of our travel investment: 1) from using our travel rewards credit card; 2) collecting rewards points from WestJet; 3) collecting Expedia Rewards (*we’ve earned over $300 in travel points from this year’s bookings alone!*); and 4) earning cashback on our vacation by starting our booking experience with Rakuten.ca!
Once you earn rewards on some of those great programs listed above you may be able to redeem for hotel stays (Whoop!). In that case, you may only need your flight. We use the Hopper app (*mobile-only*) to monitor the best times to book a flight & when the app notifies the flight has reached it’s lowest price we book! Easy right? And it removes the need to hit refresh a bajillion times monitoring your flight price on booking sites 😉
We all work hard for our money, and while we absolutely believe spending it on family travel is one of the best investments that give back in kind with lifelong family memories, we also want you to stretch your dollars & get the best value from your bookings as possible!
Hope you found this helpful! Share your best travel booking tidbits with us below!
Safe & happy travels,