Are you a Canadian who is planning on travelling to the US over the holidays to visit friends and family?
If you are, now is the time to book because the closer you get to the holiday season, the prices of flights increase dramatically and the availability also decreases as these flights book up. Typically flight prices are the lowest 60-90 days prior to departure.
When pricing out flights to the US, most airlines will charge you in USD. As most of you are aware, our Canadian dollar is at an all time low. So that $500 USD return flight that used to cost you close to $500 CAD when our dollar was at par, will now cost you closer to $675. Same goes for that hotel stay that used to cost you $200 per night and will now cost more along the lines of $270!
What can you do to avoid this?
Cash in on your travel rewards!
Currently, the rewards required for any particular route are in line with prices of when our dollar was at par and therefore the same number of points, will get you the same trip as before so essentially at the same price without being gauged by the poor exchange rate.
For example, if the $500USD flight was 35,000 air miles last year, it is still 35,000 air miles now. Therefore if you use those points you will save the $150-175 that you would have lost to the exchange.
Don’t have enough points to fly?
No problem. Most rewards programs allow you to use those points towards hotels and car rentals as well. So even if you have to purchase your flight, be sure to use up those points on your hotel and/or rental car.
If you have collected points at a hotel chain, inquire to see how many you have acquired because you may be surprised to find that you actually have accrued enough points for at least one night hotel stay.
If you haven’t collected enough points at a hotel chain, some travel rewards programs like Aeroplan will allow you to convert points from your hotel stays into travel rewards. This way even if you have a relatively low number of points at a few hotel chains, if you convert them and add them to your existing rewards you many have enough points to cover your flight. Contact your primary provider and see if they are able to do this for you.
Don’t have a clue how to manage your travel rewards?
Be sure to read my previous article on How to Maximize Your Travel Rewards Benefits.
So, bon voyage my friends! I hope you are able to use these tips and save yourself some hard earned dollars.