Five ways your credit card can fund your long weekend

Information verified correct on December 5th, 2016

Want to take your long weekend to the next level? Your credit card perks could have you covered.

Long weekends come with the promise of something special, whether it’s a road trip or interstate flight to see family, a romantic dinner, a night on the town or a few nights in a luxury hotel. But if you’re strapped for cash or lacking inspiration, there is a range of credit card extras that could help take a long weekend from average to awesome.

From rewards programs to flight vouchers, concierge services and dining and entertainment offers, here we take a look at how complimentary credit card features can help you save time and money on your next long weekend.

1. Use points for your holiday

If you have a rewards credit card, the points you earn could be used for holiday expenses such as flights, accommodation, car hire and even holiday packages. Many of these cards even allow you to use a combination of points and cash to redeem rewards. This gives you the flexibility to make bookings that fit with your long weekend budget and plans, even if you don’t have enough points to pay for everything. Just make sure you check the rewards program terms and conditions for point expiry and blackout period details (specific dates when you may not be able to redeem points). This will ensure you can save up and use those points for long weekend bookings.

Upgrading your travel plans

If you’ve already booked your flights for a long weekend away and have a credit card that earns frequent flyer points, you could use your points to to upgrade your airfares. This type of rewards redemption costs less than using points for a full fare, and offers you some extra luxury at the start and end of the weekend. For example, Qantas and Velocity frequent flyer programs offer domestic flight upgrades starting from 5,000 points and 4,900 points respectively, depending on fare class and other travel details.

Even if your rewards credit card doesn’t directly earn frequent flyer points, you may have the option of transferring reward points to your frequent flyer account and then using them for an upgrade. Either way, you have options when you want to fly in style without paying a higher price upfront.

2. Enjoy airport lounge access

Many premium credit cards offer complimentary airport lounge access. This perk allows you to escape the usual airport craziness for some relaxation and pampering before your long weekend flights.

Credit cards that offer airport lounge access
American Express PlatinumANZ Rewards Black Credit
American Express ExplorerANZ Frequent Flyer Black
American Express Qantas PremiumCiti Qantas Signature
ANZ Rewards Travel AdventuresEmirates Citi World MasterCard

Note that some options, such as the ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures credit card, offer single-use complimentary lounge passes each year. Others, such as the American Express Platinum, offer unlimited access to airport lounges for you and a guest.

3. Choose a card that offers free flights or vouchers

Some credit cards offer you complimentary flights or flight vouchers as an annual account benefit, giving you a way to fly for free over the long weekend. Some of the cards that provide this complimentary extra include:

Credit cards that provide complimentary flights
American Express Platinum EdgeANZ Rewards Travel Adventures
American Express Qantas Ultimate Velocity High Flyer
 American Express Velocity Platinum

Note that some of these cards have specific eligibility requirements for claiming your free flight. For example, the Velocity High Flyer credit card offers a $129 Virgin Australia flight voucher every year, as long as you make a retail purchase on the card within two months of requesting the voucher. Similarly, the ANZ Rewards Travel Adventures card offers a complimentary return domestic flight if you spend $500 within the first three months for each year you hold the card.

4. Get insider info from a concierge

A popular feature of premium credit cards, concierge services can provide you with assistance for everything from holiday bookings to restaurant reservations, entertainment tickets and shopping recommendations. These services can usually be accessed at any time, anywhere in the world, and often have insights on great things to do and the hottest places to be.

So even if you’re planning a staycation for your next long weekend, accessing a concierge service through your credit card could give you insider knowledge about what’s going on and provide exclusive invitations to events you might have otherwise missed out on.

creditcards

5. Get perks through Visa, MasterCard and Amex

Whether the logo on your credit card is for VisaMasterCard or American Express, you could be sitting on a goldmine of offers for upcoming long weekends, holidays or other events. Check out your options for each company below.

Visa credit card offers

If you have a Visa credit card, you could enjoy offers through the following services:

  • Visa Entertainment. This complimentary service gives you access to exclusive entertainment and experience offers such as pre-sale tickets, competitions and discounts on a range of events and activities. So before you book anything for a long weekend, check out the Visa Entertainment website to see if there’s a deal that matches your plans.
  • Visa Signature Luxury Hotels. With a premium Visa Signature credit card you can get access to a hand-selected portfolio of premium hotels all around the world. This service includes a best-rate guarantee and, depending on the hotel you choose, you could get complimentary room upgrades, Wi-Fi, breakfast and VIP guest status.
  • Other Visa offers and perks. Visa also provides a range of offers on its website that can be searched by location and category. The latter includes travel, food and wine, dining, shopping, sports and entertainment both in Australian and overseas.

MasterCard credit card offers

The MasterCard Priceless Cities program offers cardholders exclusive experiences in metropolitan destinations all around the world. These offers are seasonal and run across the following categories:

  • Dining. Offers could include priority seating at award-winning restaurants, a complimentary bottle of wine with your meal and exclusive historical tours with included refreshments or high tea.
  • Shopping. Get access to private VIP shopping events, retailer discounts and personal stylist appointments just by having a MasterCard.
  • Hotels. Specials could include a 10–20% discount on your stay, room upgrades and a complimentary bottle of wine when you check in.
  • Experiences. Take tours of iconic venues such as the Sydney Opera House, enjoy priority access to kids’ shows and take advantage of premium ticket pricing to popular events around town with the offers available through this program.

American Express credit card offers

If you have an American Express credit card – even if it is issued through another bank – you can take advantage of a range of deals through Amex Offers. The benefits of this program often include cash back when you spend over a certain amount, which could be a great way to save money on spending before or during a long weekend.

Factors to consider when comparing

There’s no doubt a credit card can help fund your long weekend, but make sure you consider the following details before you pull out your plastic.

  • Terms and conditions. Most of the complimentary extras that come with credit cards have a range of requirements you need to meet to be eligible to use them. For example, with rewards you need to have enough points to make a redemption (or use a points-plus-pay option), and travel vouchers often have a limited timeframe for use.
  • Your credit card balance. Usually you have to use your credit card for spending to take advantage of these perks, which could mean you end up carrying a bigger balance than expected. Make sure you budget for your card spending and aim to pay it off straight away, or as soon as possible to avoid interest charges.
  • Annual fees. Credit cards that offer a lot of complimentary extras often have high annual fees. While the perks you use can offset the cost of this charge, it’s important to consider how often you will use the benefits. In some cases, it might be worth skipping the extras for a card with a lower annual fee, or comparing cards that offer no annual fee to save money on your account costs.
  • Additional fees. Booking airfares or entertainment tickets with a credit card often attracts other fees, such as surcharges. Make sure you consider these costs before taking advantage of a credit card offer or perk, so that you know it is really offering you value for your money.

Whether you’re planning a getaway, a shopping spree or a relaxing staycation over the long weekend, your credit card could give you access to a whole world of exclusive benefits and savings. So before you start forking out cash for your next three-day break, check your card features or compare other options to see if there are perks you can use to optimise your plans.

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