Welcome to the world of travel rewards!
Like many other Boomers, we love to travel. Even more we love to travel in luxury. Like weird middle-aged birders, we are always on the quest to add a new travel luxury item or destination to our list. It’s a bit of an obsession. Everyone needs to have a hobby; luxury travel is a pretty nice one. Over the last few years we have learned the basics of the fine art of how to enjoy the world of almost free business and first class travel, upgrades and élite status. But more important we have learned how to carpe diem and discover joy hidden around every corner.
Did we mention almost free?
While the travel rewards/hackers/frequent flyer community has many wonderful and informative on-line resources, particularly for the computer and credit savvy Generation Y demographic cohort, the current resources do not adequately address the concerns that many older Generation X and Baby Boomers face. These concerns, real or imaginary, have resulted in many a “mid-century modern” traveller not having proper information tools to learn how to exploit the potential of travel rewards at a time in life when many can maximize the available opportunities.
Like most Boomers, you probably…
- Have had one or two credit cards associated with some travel reward company like Aeroplan or AirMiles for years.
- Have remained faithful to your card company to keep your credit history.
- Pay annual fees on your bank issued credit cards despite years of devoted patronage.
- Pay for supplemental cards.
- Don’t understand credit ratings.
- Don’t read the fine print on credit products.
- Have obtained after many years enough points to collect a travel reward; however, when you try to book the reward yourself, with much frustration, you discover that the dates you want are not available or that the associated taxes are greater than just buying a ticket.
- Have lots of “precious” points that you have not used and which get devalued as time goes on.
- Have misplaced your reward points information (account number) – and the thought of trying to obtain the information is overwhelming.
- Have finally stopped depending on credit cards as a financial lifeline and often pay for items by cash/bank card rather than a credit card.
- Are not comfortable/get frustrated speaking to perky credit card and rewards representatives.
- Believe that luxury travel is expensive.
- Have heard about frequent flyers and travel hacking but dismiss it as mildly irritating because you don’t quite believe it / are to busy to think about it.
- Have not developed a thoughtful credit portfolio to maximize your travel opportunities.
- Have little time and interest to invest in learning about and using travel rewards.
And you probably also think that if it sounds too good to be true, well, then there is probably some kind of catch.
A couple of years ago we fit this profile. We have moved on… and now enjoy travel the benefits that preferred rewards programs have to offer.
Although far from wealthy, we generally travel business class (transportation, hotels) – and for much less than the cost of economy travel. This year alone we took four transcontinental vacations, and stayed in five-star hotels all for under ~$400 per person (inclusive) per trip. And that’s in Canadian dollars.
This blog is our ode and nudge to other mid-century moderns – all of you fabulous, no matter your income.
Get out your atlas (because you probably have one of those too), and start dreaming!