If, like many people, you put off travel during the pandemic, you may have built up travel reward points. Whether you already know about how many points you have to use or not, the holiday season is a great time to take stock. You can use your holiday points to travel to see family or for a much-needed vacation.
Visiting Faraway Family
Following the CDC guidance for holiday celebrations, many families will be getting together this holiday season, even if it means crossing the miles. If you're one of the many with beloved relatives who don't live nearby, you'll probably be using any points to get to them. This may mean you'll have a place to stay, and meals may be covered as well.
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That leaves transportation as the challenge. If you have points, whether it's with an airline, credit card or another source, this could be a great time to save a little money on those ultra-expensive holiday flights. The only problem is, many airlines have blackout dates, so it's important to book by Thanksgiving to get the best shot at a Christmastime flight.
Those reward points can give you a way to save money on your travel during a time of year that's already expensive.
Hotels and Resorts
Whether you're visiting family or just kicking back and relaxing, there are plenty of hotels that let you use points during the holiday season. The World of Hyatt and Hilton Honors programs don't have blackout dates, but if the hotels are booked, you won't be able to get a room. Book as early as possible if you have points specific to a hotel chain.
Those who are enjoying a fun getaway could consider an all-inclusive resort, either in the U.S. or on an island. You'll need to check out the travel advisories since there are still restrictions this holiday season. If you have a membership with them, Club Med has extended its loyalty points from 2020, so you can take advantage of having a higher status before that offer ends on Dec. 31, 2021.
Consider also: How to Redeem Your Visa Reward Points
Fun for Children
Christmas isn't the only part of winter break for kids. For parents, those long couple of weeks can become challenging. Finding activities when your children are bored can be tough, especially if you're spending time with family.
Some organizations hold kids' camps during winter break to help take some of the pressure off parents. If you have points, look for hotels or resorts that provide children's activities. You'll also find many cruise lines offer clubs for kids to hang out while their parents enjoy some leisure time by the pool.
Consider also: Is There an Airbnb in Your Travel Plans?
Fun for the Whole Family
Christmas can be a great time to head to one of the Disney parks. Attendance isn't quite what it is during other times of the year, so you won't have the long lines you'll see during spring, summer or fall break. Disney Visa cardholders can use accrued points toward accommodations and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
A Christmastime cruise is another way to use your points toward family fun. With the right cruise, you'll be able to leave the ship for excursions to see parts of the world your kids might not have seen otherwise. Disney will even let you combine park visits with days on the ship to get the best of both Christmas vacations.
The holiday season can be a tough time to try to book travel. Costs are higher during the days surrounding any big holiday, so you might find you're paying more for airfare and accommodations. Those reward points can give you a way to save money on your travel during a time of year that's already expensive. That will give you a little extra to put toward gifts and holiday trimmings.
Consider also: How to Financially Plan for a Vacation?