How your credit card can fund your long weekend | finder.com
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5 ways to use vacation credit cards to fund your long weekend

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Learn how vacation credit cards can help you enrich your trip.

Long weekends come with the promise of something special, whether it’s a road trip or interstate flight to see family, a romantic dinner, a night on the town or a few nights in a luxury hotel. But if you’re strapped for cash or lacking inspiration, there is a range of credit card extras that could help take a long weekend from average to awesome.

Keep in mind, you won’t specifically find a vacation credit card as there is no such category, but you can get a credit card with a generous rewards program that also comes with concierge services, dining and entertainment offers or airport lounge access to make your vacation more enjoyable.

Use points for your holiday

If you have a rewards credit card, the points you earn could be used for holiday expenses such as flights, accommodation, car rentals and even holiday packages. Many of these cards even allow you to use a combination of points and cash to redeem rewards.

Just make sure you check the rewards program’s terms and conditions for point expiry and blackout period details, which are specific dates you may not be able to redeem points. This will ensure you can save up and use those points for long weekend bookings.

Upgrading your travel plans

If you’ve already booked your flights for a long weekend away and have a credit card that earns airline miles, you could use your miles to upgrade your airfare. This type of rewards redemption usually costs less than using points for full fare and offers some extra luxury at the start and end of the weekend.

Even if your rewards credit card doesn’t directly earn airline miles, you may have the option of transferring rewards points to your frequent flyer account and then using them for an upgrade. Either way, you have options when you want to fly in style without paying a higher price upfront.

Enjoy airport lounge access

Many premium credit cards offer complimentary airport lounge access. This perk allows you to escape the usual airport craziness for some relaxation and pampering before your long weekend flights.

Credit cards that offer airport lounge access
The Platinum Card® from American Express United℠ Explorer Card
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
Hilton Honors™ Aspire Card United MileagePlus® Club card

Note that some options offer limited-use complimentary lounge passes each year. Others, such as the Amex Platinum Card, offer unlimited access to airport lounges for you, your spouse and children under the age of 21 or up to two guests.

Choose a card that offers a companion certificate

Some credit cards offer a companion certificate as an annual account benefit or as a reward you can earn, giving your companion a way to fly without paying for the airfare, except for fees and taxes. Some of the cards that provide this complimentary extra include:

Credit cards that provide companion certificate
Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Note that some of these cards have specific eligibility requirements for claiming your companion pass. For example, with some of the Southwest cards, you need to earn 110,000 Companion Pass qualifying points or fly 100 qualifying one-way flights.

Get insider info from a concierge

A popular feature of premium credit cards, concierge services can provide you with assistance for everything from holiday bookings to restaurant reservations, entertainment tickets and shopping recommendations. These services can usually be accessed at any time, anywhere in the world, and often have insights on great things to do and the hottest places to be.

So even if you’re planning a staycation for your next long weekend, accessing a concierge service through your credit card could give you insider knowledge about what’s going on and provide exclusive invitations to events you might have otherwise missed out on.

creditcards

Get perks through Visa, Mastercard and Amex

Whether the logo on your credit card is for Visa, Mastercard or American Express, you could be sitting on a goldmine of offers for upcoming long weekends, holidays or other events. Check out your options for each company below.

Visa credit card offers

If you have a Visa credit card, you could enjoy offers through the following services:

  • Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection.
    With a premium Visa Signature credit card, you can get access to a hand-selected portfolio of premium hotels all around the world. This service includes a best-rate guarantee and, depending on the hotel you choose, you could get complimentary room upgrades, Wi-Fi, breakfast and VIP guest status.
  • Other Visa offers and perks. Visa also provides a range of offers on its website that can be searched by location and category. The latter includes travel, food and wine, dining, shopping, sports and entertainment both in the US and overseas.

Mastercard credit card offers

The Mastercard Priceless Cities program offers cardholders exclusive experiences in metropolitan destinations all around the world. These offers are seasonal and run across the following categories:

  • Dining.
    Offers could include priority seating at award-winning restaurants, a complimentary bottle of wine with your meal and exclusive historical tours with included refreshments or high tea.
  • Shopping.
    Get access to private VIP shopping events, retailer discounts and personal stylist appointments just by having a Mastercard.
  • Hotels.
    Specials could include a 10–20% discount on your stay, room upgrades and a complimentary bottle of wine when you check in.
  • Experiences.
    Take tours or watch batting practice at Yankee Stadium with a Yankee legend, enjoy priority access to kids’ shows and take advantage of premium ticket pricing to popular events worldwide with the offers available through this program.

American Express credit card offers

If you have an American Express credit card – even if it is issued through another bank – you can take advantage of a range of deals through Amex Offers. The benefits of this program often include cashback when you spend over a certain amount, which could be a great way to save money on spending before or during a long weekend.

Compare travel credit cards

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual Fee Filter values
75,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
7x points on Hilton Honors purchases, 5x at US restaurants, US supermarkets and US gas stations, 3x on all other purchases
$0
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of card membership. Rates & fees
60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months
5x points on directly-booked flights or on flights and hotels on Amex Travel. 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Get 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Rates & fees
35,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on directly-booked flights; 4x at restaurants; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points)
$250
35,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
25,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first 4 months
2x points on gas, groceries or airlines, whichever you spend the most on each month, 2x points on cell phone services and charities and 1x points on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($49 thereafter)
Earn 25,000 enrollment FlexPoints worth $375 in travel after spending $2,000 in the first 4 months. Rates & Fees
60,000 miles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months, plus $50 after your first Delta purchase in the same timeframe
2x miles on Delta purchases and 1x miles on all other purchases
$0 intro annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
60,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $2,000 on purchases within the first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase in the first 3 months. Rates & fees

Compare up to 4 providers

Factors to consider when comparing

There’s no doubt a credit card can help fund your long weekend, but make sure you consider the following details before you pull out your plastic.

  • Terms and conditions.
    Most of the complimentary extras that come with credit cards have a range of requirements you need to meet to be eligible to use them. For example, with rewards you need to have enough points to make a redemption.
  • Your credit card balance.
    Usually you have to use your credit card for spending to take advantage of these perks, which could mean you end up carrying a bigger balance than expected. Make sure you budget for your card spending and aim to pay it off straight away, or as soon as possible to avoid interest charges.
  • Annual fees.
    Credit cards that offer a lot of complimentary extras often have high annual fees. While the perks you use can offset the cost of this charge, it’s important to consider how often you will use the benefits. In some cases, it might be worth skipping the extras for a card with a lower annual fee, or comparing cards that offer no annual fee to save money on your account costs.

Bottom line

Whether you’re planning a getaway, a shopping spree or a relaxing staycation over the long weekend, your credit card could give you access to a whole world of exclusive benefits and savings.

But before you start forking out cash for your next three-day break, check your card features or compare other options to see if there are perks you can use to optimize your plans.

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