Last spring, I had to be on best friend duty and fly to Las Vegas for a 30th birthday party. I was happy to do it but also wondered how to make the trip more affordable. Since flights can be the biggest expense for a short trip, I looked at how I could maximize my savings and get discount flights.
Getting discount flights using flexible rewards
I wanted more flexibility than Air Miles and Aeroplan could offer me. I didn’t love the fact that I could only book through their flight centres since I could find much cheaper flights through Skyscanner. If only I knew that using flexible travel rewards meant you can get discount flights!
All you have to do is search Skyscanner for a discount flight and select the option that suits you. You can select a specification, such as direct flights only, and then charge the flight to your rewards credit card. Then you simply apply your reward points against your purchase, including taxes and fees. So much easier!
Here’s how it works with three flexible travel rewards credit cards:
How it works: With the Scotiabank Gold American Express card, you’ll earn 4 points per dollar on gas, groceries, entertainment and restaurants (up to $50,000 a year), and 1 point on everything else. When you’re ready to travel, simply charge the flight to your credit card. Then log in to the online Scotia Travel Reward Centre and apply your points to your purchase. Flights, hotels and car rentals plus associated taxes and fees all count as travel.
Don’t have enough points to redeem for the entire cost of your flight? No problem! Redeem points for the partial cost of your discount flights. You can apply points for travel for one year after purchase.
How much do I have to spend to book a flight? Every 100 points gives you $1 in travel. You can earn four points for every dollar spent on gas, groceries, entertainment and restaurants and one point for everything else.
Other sweet benefits: You don’t have to slum it: access to Priority Pass lounges worldwide.
How it works: Swipe your TD Platinum Travel Visa for discount flights and travel purchases, then call or sign into TD Rewards Centre to apply your points. The Book Any Way option allows you to use points against travel (including accommodation, car rentals, park passes) within 90 days.
How much do I have to spend to book a flight? Every $200 gives you $1 in travel. You earn 3 points for all purchases and double the points when you pay for travel purchases booked online through Expedia for TD.
How it works: The MBNA World Elite MasterCard is essentially a straight cash-back card, you can apply your points toward any purchase, travel or otherwise, or even ask them to mail you a cheque for the cash equivalent. With no spending categories, purchase exclusions or time limits, this card is one of the most flexible reward cards available. To apply your points against your discount flights, or get a cheque, just log into your online banking, click the rewards tab and request a redemption.
How much do I have to spend to book a flight? Every 100 points gives you $1 in travel. You earn two points for every purchase. Simple!