Whether you’re a budget traveller or a luxury traveller, you still want to get the best deal right? I absolutely love a bargain. Why pay more when you could get it for less? That means more money to spend on prosecco! As a seasoned traveller, here are my top tips for bagging the best travel deal – whatever your budget.
Have you ever searched for a flight or hotel only to go back a day or two later and the price has increased? In basic terms, this is because the sites know that you’re interested so they increase the price. To ensure this doesn’t happen, search in an incognito or private browser. I’ve saved over £1oo on flights doing this so it’s well worth it.
Join an airline loyalty programme
We’ve been British Airways Executive Club members for years and have saved up almost 300,000 Avios, which is the currency of the Executive Club and can be used for reward flights. To us, joining was a no brainer as you accumulate points for flights or holidays you’re taking anyway. This does mean that we try to fly BA as much as possible, however if there is a much cheaper flight on another airline we will of course go with them.
British Airways also has four tiers of membership – Blue, Bronze, Silver and Gold. At the moment I’m on Bronze and my husband is on Silver. With Bronze you get to check in and board with business class customers (a small thing but it makes a difference) as well as reserve your seats 7 days in advance and you get an extra 25% extra Avios. Silver gets you the same benefits although you get 50% more Avios and you get to enjoy the lounge even if you’re flying economy. We are flying to Bangkok at the end of the month and flying economy but we’ll get to enjoy the lounge because of our Silver membership.
You can go one further and sign up for the British Airways American Express credit card, which gives you Avios every time you spend on it. You also get bonus points when you spend a certain amount in your first three months and if you refer friends. There are two cards – the premium one gives you a 2-4-1 travel companion voucher when you spend £10,000 a year on your card. It sounds like a lot but if you use it as a debit card and pay it off every month (VERY important as it’s 76% APR) then you get a free flight for a family member.
Find the best hotel deal
There are lots of options for finding the best hotel deal, such as joining a loyalty programme or combining flights with a hotel when booking through an airline. But of course sometimes you’re travelling by train, car or bus and just need a hotel. The hotel sites I like to use are booking.com, Opodo and Expedia as I know they have great deals. And they don’t just have hotels but B&Bs, resorts, guest houses and apartments if you need more space or facilities.
Find the best flight deal
Although we mainly book with British Airways so that we can collect Avios and enjoy the benefits of our membership, I always use Skyscanner to see what the best travel deal is. You can also set up price alerts so that they email you when the price goes down or up so that you can quickly book it before it increases even more.
Buy a package holiday
Package holidays are almost always cheaper than buying flights and hotels separately. Search for flights and hotels together on an airline’s website and you’ll be surprised how much you can save by combining them. And of course package holidays from travel agents are always more cost effective and they’re ATOL protected in case anything goes wrong.
Nab a Black Friday deal
Black Friday is a huge deal in the States but it’s only just started making its way to our shores. Last year British Airways held a Black Friday sale and we managed to get first class flights to New York for New Year for the same price as economy (which is also how my husband is now on the Silver tier). This year we’re planning on spending New Year in Chicago and we’ll be holding out for the Black Friday sale on 24 November to get more for our money.
Join a hotel loyalty programme
As with airlines, many hotel chains have a loyalty programme where you earn points every time you book and stay with them which can then be redeemed for free nights. Not only that but often they will give their loyalty members a special ‘member’ price or an offer such as a free upgrade or fruit basket. Last year we stayed in the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo and joined their loyalty programme. We’re staying with them in Bangkok and used our points to receive a free night. As members, we also received a special deal on our booking. And of course, you’re more likely to be upgraded if you’re on a hotel’s loyalty programme.
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