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Transferring Credit Card Rewards to a Travel Partner? Do This First

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Earning rewards when swiping your credit card is an excellent strategy. With a travel credit card, you can redeem your rewards for travel purchases, making an upcoming vacation cheaper.

If you have a travel rewards credit card that allows you to transfer your rewards to travel partners, there are two steps you should take before transferring them. Here’s what you should know.

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Some cards allow you to transfer your rewards to travel partners

Some travel credit cards give cardholders multiple ways to redeem the rewards they earn. One redemption option may be to transfer your points or miles to select airline or hotel partners.

Transferring your rewards could be an excellent way to get more value. You can transfer your rewards and book flights or hotel stays. This redemption choice may provide better value, allowing you to stretch your rewards further and save more on travel costs.

But before you rush to transfer your rewards to an eligible travel partner, ensure availability for your award flight or hotel stay booking. You should also research all costs to know what to expect before you finalize your redemption. Here are the steps I suggest you take.

Step one: Search for availability

Whether you’re hoping to use your rewards for a flight or hotel stay, you’ll want to research availability first. Search for your desired flight or hotel with your preferred dates to see if bookings are available. You can log in to the travel partner’s website to do this.

Why is this an important step to take? Once you transfer your rewards to a travel partner, you can’t transfer them back to your credit card’s issuer’s rewards program. The last thing you want to do is find out there is no availability and be forced to use your rewards with one partner.

As a heads up, many travelers book award flights six to 12 months before their trip. If you’re looking for last-minute availability, you may need to adjust your trip plans.

Step two: Review all prices

The next step is to review all costs associated with your intended booking. Most credit card reward hotel bookings don’t charge additional taxes and fees. However, if you’re making a redemption with points and cash, you may be charged additional taxes and fees.

If you use your rewards to book an award flight, expect to pay taxes and fees. Costs start at $5.60 per one-way flight for flights flying out of the United States. But these expenses can vary significantly depending on the carrier and the airport you’re flying in and out of for your flights.

These fees can easily cost hundreds of dollars in addition to the points or miles required to book your award flight. Researching the total cost before you transfer your rewards is wise. This way, you don’t end up with a big surprise when you get to the checkout screen.

Strategize before using your credit card rewards

It pays to strategize the best way to use your credit card rewards. As you earn rewards, review your available redemption choices to see if there’s an option that offers more value. You worked hard to earn your rewards, so finding a way to stretch them is beneficial. If you’re looking for a credit card that earns travel rewards, check out our list of the best travel credit cards.

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We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.
The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Natasha Gabrielle has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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