How to use your credit card to upgrade your holiday from budget to boujee
5 ways to use your credit card to travel in luxury for less.
Frequent flyer credit cards are designed to reward savvy travellers who want to travel in style for less. This means you can enjoy the finer side of travel without forking out for lounge passes, flight upgrades and other ways to upgrade your next holiday.
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These cards often charge higher annual fees and purchase interest rates compared to other cards with fewer frills, which is why it's important to make use of the extra perks. To spark your imagination, here are five ways you can amp up your trip courtesy of your card's complimentary extras.
1. Complimentary lounge passes and access
Start your holiday on the right foot by swapping the crowded public terminals for exclusive airport lounges. Depending on the card, you may receive a lounge pass to use with a specific airline like Qantas or Virgin Australia. Meanwhile, card issuers like American Express have their own lounges at Sydney and Melbourne international airports and some products provide access to Priority Pass lounges around the world.
The trimmings vary but you can usually expect complimentary food and drinks, high-speed Wi-Fi, comfortable and spacious seating as well as private workstations and sometimes even shower and spa facilities. You can check out our list of the top five lounges you can visit courtesy of your credit card to get an idea.
2. Hotel upgrades and elite loyalty status
With the right card, the perks continue when you land with complimentary hotel upgrades and deals. For example, the American Express Platinum card offers fast-tracked status with hotel loyalty programs like Hilton Honors Gold, Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status and Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade. This means you can enjoy room upgrades (if available), breakfast and complimentary late check-outs plus other perks that are reserved for high-tier status loyalty members.
The American Express Platinum card also comes with a complimentary membership to the Accor Plus program. Valued at $395 per year, you can enjoy exclusive perks including a complimentary stay each year, 10% off the best public rates and discounts on dining at 800 hotels in 18 countries across the Asia Pacific.
Other credit cards are linked with the Visa Luxury Hotel Collection and offer discounts on room charges, complimentary room upgrades when available, continental breakfast, late check-out and more at selected hotels like Park Hyatt and Aman Resorts.
3. Use points or travel credits to book flights
If your credit card is linked with a frequent flyer or rewards program, you can use the points to book and upgrade your flights from economy to business class and beyond. If your card is linked with a specific points scheme like the Qantas Frequent Flyer or Velocity Frequent Flyer, you can redeem your points for flights and travel rewards with the airline and its partners.
If your card earns points with a card loyalty scheme like American Express Membership Rewards or Altitude Points, you can transfer your points to partnered programs like Velocity, Etihad Guest, Emirates Skywards, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and more.
Credit cards like the American Express Platinum Edge and American Express Explorer also come with travel credits you can use to book flights and other travel experiences through the American Express Travel website. Meanwhile, Virgin Money cards like the Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer card offer cardholders a $129 Virgin Australia gift voucher each year.
4. Luxury transfer service
Some credit cards offer luxury transfer car service to or from the airport. A meet and assist service can smooth out the often-stressful process of finding your way into a new city.
5. Use your concierge service
Many frequent flyer credit cards and charge cards, such as the American Express Platinum Card, come with a complimentary concierge service. Just like your very own real estate agent, your concierge can research and book everything from flights and accommodation to holiday packages and car rentals. Just give your concierge service an idea of where you'd like to travel and your budget then it can do the hard work searching for the best deals. You'll have to pay for any travel booked, but you'll save the time and effort it usually takes to organise your holiday.
Disclaimer: This advice is general and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before applying for any products mentioned, please read the product terms and conditions and consider whether that product is right for you.
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