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How to save money on flights with points?

To the point

With credit card points, you can save a lot of money on flights for your travels!

1 / Your goal: Save money on flights

Here, your goal is to be able to:

  • book on the website that suits you the most (Air France, Kiwi.com, Skyscanner, Momondo…)
  • travel on the dates that suit you
  • Take the itinerary of your choice
  • Use the airlines that are right for you
  • Etc.
kiwi nomad 2

So you want more freedom than the one you could have with Aeroplan or AIR MILES. You should always hold a credit card with travel points: it will offer you some flexibility!

Sometimes, we use credit cards with hotel points to get free hotel nights, while on other occasions, we redeem travel points to pay for a flight!

2 / Loyalty Programs to save on flights

Some will offer you the possibility:

  • to book with any travel agency or airline
  • while others will have their own online agency, often offering the same prices

Of course, we will prefer programs that offer more flexibility, but we should not disregard the others!

Here are the top 4 travel reward programs to save money on flights:

HSBC Rewards

To use your HSBC Rewards points, charge any travel purchase to your HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® (and earn 6 points per dollar for this type of purchase).

Then you can go to the HSBC Rewards portal to apply your points on your travel purchases and get a statement credit.

For example, here is the purchase of an Air Transat flight on my HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®:

Introducing the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®
Redeeming HSBC points for an Air Transat flight ticket

So, 50,000 HSBC Rewards points can save you $250 on your flight!

American Express Membership Rewards Points (flexible option)

With the Membership Rewards program, you can apply points to any flight purchase charged to one of the six Membership Rewards Cards.

You can apply 1,000 points for a $10 credit or 10,000 points = $100. Below, an Air Transat flight booked with an American Express Card:

cobalt transat

So 25,000 Membership Rewards can save $250 on a flight!

American Express Membership Rewards Points (fixed option)

For some flights, American Express has assigned a fixed chart: you will be able to use a predetermined number of points based on the cost of your flight.

amex points fixes eco

So, in this case, 15,000 privilege points = $300! An option to keep in mind, detailed here.

Scotia Rewards

Scotia Rewards Points can be applied directly to the purchase of your airfare on one of the cards in the program.

You will be able to use 5,000 points for a credit of $50 or 10,000 points = $100.

points bonis scotia sncf appliquer

So 25,000 Scotia Rewards points can save you $250 on your flight!

BMO Rewards

BMO Rewards program works differently: you must use BMO’s travel booking portal to redeem points earned with one of the three credit cards belonging to the program.

The exchange rate will always be the same when using points for travel, in this case here to save on airfares: 10,000 points = $71

bmo rewards

So 35,000 BMO Rewards points can save you $250 on your flight!

3 / Credit cards to save money on flights

With the goal and programs set, we can now look at credit cards that earn points to save money on airfares.

HSBC Rewards Credit Card

The HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® is a great credit card with no foreign transaction fees, especially for travel purchases.

With the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®,you earn:

  • 6 points per dollar for travel purchases (flights, hotels, Airbnb, all-inclusive, etc.)
  • 3 points per dollar for all other purchases

It’s a 1% to 3% value depending on your purchases!

You can apply your points on any travel purchase charged to your HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® (flights, hotels, Airbnb, all-inclusive, etc.). But you can also transfer your points to three airline loyalty programs: British Airways Executive Club, Asia Miles and Singapore Airlines Krisflyer.

Finally, with the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard® you get:

  • $100 annual travel credit (for airport lounges, for example)
  • Unlimited access to Boingo WiFi hotspots around the world
  • 10% discount for hotel bookings on Expedia or Agoda
  • Premium insurance for your travels and purchases

Finally, the HSBC World Elite Mastercard does not charge any conversion fees for foreign exchange transactions: you save 2.5% for each transaction.

And it’s one of the best credit cards for Costco, earning 3 points per dollar there.

American Express Membership Rewards Cards

Here are the six American Express Cards part of Membership Rewards:

Consumer Cards

Small Business Cards

The American Express Cobalt™ Card and American Express Business Edge™ Card are the best cards to use for flights within the Membership Rewards Program.

Unlike the other 4 cards, you can’t transfer their points to airline programs (such as Aeroplan).

The American Express Cobalt™ Card is the best American Express Credit Card.

With the American Express Cobalt™ Card, you earn between 1 and 5 points per dollar:

Category Points per dollar
Groceries 5
Food delivery 5
Restaurants and bars 5
Convenience stores 5
Gas station 2
Transportation 2
Travel 2
Other 1

You can get up to 30,000 Membership Rewards Points as a Welcome Bonus, that’s a $300 value. You can earn 2,500 Membership Rewards® points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 in net purchases on your Card.

So, if each month you spend $500 in the 5x categories, you could get up to 60,000 points or $600 during the first year! You can redeem your points in statement credits towards travel purchases, or even on your everyday purchases. Or you can transfer your points to Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors.

Besides, this Card provides premium insurance :

  • Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance
  • Baggage delay insurance
  • Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
  • Flight delay insurance
  • $250,000 Travel Accident Insurance
  • Hotel or motel burglary insurance
  • Purchase Protection® Plan
  • Buyer’s Assurance® Protection Plan

Scotia Rewards Credit Cards

Here are the 3 best credit cards in the Scotia Rewards program.

The most interesting in our opinion are:

BMO Rewards Credit Cards

There are 2 cards that are part of the BMO Rewards program:

The BMO® Rewards® Mastercard®* is one of the best no-annual-fee credit cards in Canada.

For a limited time, you can get a welcome bonus of 15,000 points.

And you can also get a 1.99% introductory interest rate on Balance Transfers for 9 months.

“His big sister,” the BMO® World Elite®* Mastercard®* is one of the most-known travel point cards. Its insurance package is excellent and it offers 4 free access to VIP airport lounges every year.

Conclusion

At first, you could focus on one program. Or you can get into multiple programs, which is ideal in a couple: each of you applying for a different card.

According to us, the four best credit cards are:

Also, as you can see, these cards sometimes require a high income ($60,000 – $80,000/year), while others require lower income ($12,000 with Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card) or even no minimum income (American Express Cobalt™ Card).

So everyone can benefit from travel points to save on flights!

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