The icy holiday season is a great time to whisk the family away to warmer climes for a well-earned break. It’s been a hard year, everybody deserves a chance to unwind and pamper themselves for a week or so.

If only it was that simple, if only it was that affordable. Money always seems to get in the way of booking that dream trip. Well, maybe money doesn’t have to be such a barrier anymore — by signing up to a travel rewards program that suits your spending habits, you could drastically reduce the price of your next vacation. 

 “Canadians love to dream about where they’re going to visit on their next vacation, especially when you look outside on a cold winter’s day,” Webster says. “Travel points help to keep that dream alive.”

The attraction of travel rewards

“Travel rewards offer great value,” explains Steve Webster, Vice President of Travel Cards at CIBC. “If you sit down and crunch the numbers, you’ll find that travel rewards offer a very competitive return against other reward programs.”

But Webster doesn’t believe that this rational reasoning explains the popularity of travel rewards, he thinks people are drawn to them because they are aspirational and exciting. “Canadians love to dream about where they’re going to visit on their next vacation, especially when you look outside on a cold winter’s day,” Webster says. “Travel points help to keep that dream alive.”  

Make the most of your points 

The holiday season is a great time to redeem your travel rewards for flights, car rental, hotels, cruises, tours, and gift cards. But, to make the most of the points you’ve earned, be sure to shop around before booking your travel. “Speak to a travel expert -— they might be able to get you better value when you’re redeeming points,” says Webster. “Sometimes, just moving your trip up a day or two can get you much better value.” 

Stephen Scott,  Senior Manager, Rewards, Innovation and Strategy at RBC, says that consumers should be collecting their points in a rewards program that allows them the flexibility to travel when they want. “The better travel rewards cards allow you to book travel without any seat availability restrictions, and that becomes key around the holiday period,” says Scott.

If you’re tied into a rewards program that has limited seats on an airline, the chances of getting your family to your intended destination are not good. “Good rewards programs give you the ability to redeem on any airline,  anywhere , any time,” Scott says.

Maximize travel reward earnings

Anna Judek, Director of Co-Brand Partnerships at RBC, says that using a travel reward credit card for everyday purchases is a great way to rack up your travel points. “Use your credit card to buy groceries and gas and also charge your monthly expenditures, such as utility bills, to your credit card too,” explains Judek.

Consolidating spending onto one specific credit card not only helps consumers maximize points potential, it also makes keeping track of monthly spending easier than if you use multiple cards or cash. “Consolidation allows you to see exactly where you’re spending, and remember to always pay your credit card off on time so that you don’t incur any interest charges,” Judek says.

Consolidate your spending and turn that dream vacation into a reality.