Staying flexible means sticking to an airline program like SkyTeam, where you are offered a number of carriers.
Plainview, N.Y. (PRWEB) March 14, 2013
With business travelers already searching for spring and summer travel deals, one of the biggest perks of signing up for a credit card or airline reward program is earning points and frequent flier miles. But redeeming the travel rewards with the airlines for a flight using the minimum miles or points is becoming more difficult. OKT Corporate Travel Management had tips for overcoming four common challenges travelers face when cashing in points or miles.
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Holidays are some of the busiest travel periods of the year, which can make redeeming points and miles next to impossible.
“Though, some credit cards have no blackout dates,” said Orit Keren, CEO of OKT Travel. “Avoid planning vacations around holidays. But when dates cannot be adjusted, savvy business travelers keep various credit cards in their wallets that offer a diverse suite of travel rewards.”
Popular credit cards without blackout dates include the Capital One Venture Rewards Card and Blue Sky from American Express.
Redemption Costs Have Increased
Airline companies keep increasing the number of points and frequent flier miles required for a “free” ticket, forcing travelers to supplement points with cash or save more miles over a longer period of time.
“Make sure to read the fine print,” Keren said.
A recent study by Capital One showed that about 37 percent of those surveyed said they had to pay extra fees and taxes when redeeming rewards for travel this summer. About a third of those surveyed said they did not know they were being charged extra fees.
Rather than redeem points or miles for a business class flight outright, it might make sense to buy a coach ticket then use miles or points to upgrade the flight to business class, Keren explained.
Business travelers who are flexible when flying often have an easier time redeeming points and miles.
“If you can, have a few dates you can pick from when booking flights,” Keren said. “The less
flexible you are, the more difficult it will be to book a flight using points or frequent flier miles.”
Some airlines are more flexible than others when redeeming frequent flier miles and credit card points, she explained. Working with an airline alliance like SkyTeam, will provide more options for travelers booking last-minute flights or flights to popular destinations.
“Staying flexible means sticking to an airline program like SkyTeam, where you are offered a number of carriers,” Keren said.
Sometimes seat availability is low for travelers trying to redeem credit card points or frequent flier miles.
“If you are flying to a popular destination, make sure to book eight to 10 months in advance,” Keren said. “And grab what you can then try to modify the flight by contacting the airline. Grab it early and modify it as you go along.”
According to Keren, “redeeming points can be a battle, but it’s not impossible. As long as you go into it with flexibility and a strategy, you should be able to overcome most of these challenges.”