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October 30, 2021

Half of travel points customers frustrated with redemption process, says survey

Every person loves the idea that they could earn points while spending money that they would any way and eventually, they would be treated to a free trip. Unfortunately, about 68 per cent of people surveyed faced irksome situations when it came to cashing in their points, according to a recent survey conducted by Capital One Canada.

Some of the major issues include hidden fees, blackout dates and the lack of flight availability.

But there is one ray of sunshine within this survey, apparently credit card companies and airlines are changing their ways since customers aren't afraid to walk away and switch card providers, says the survey.

With many travel reward cards to choose from there's lots to consider including annual fees, extra benefits, such as car rental or travel insurance, interest rates, where you can collect points and how quickly you can accumulate points. Most importantly, you should consider any details about the redemption process, such as if there's an expiry date on using your points, and how many points you'll need to redeem for a flight to wherever you want to go.

Some travel reward programs offer free sign-up points and it's important to consider how you can maximize those points to help you book a "free" trip.

Anyone who's with Aeroplan is likely considering whether they stick with the program or not, especially with the recent changed partnership to TD Bank, instead of a renewed collaboration with CIBC.

If you're looking to narrow down the wealth of travel reward credit card choices, MoneySense magazine offers a yearly updated credit card tool that suggest its top travel reward credit cards.

Before you decide on choosing any credit card, it's important to shop around and figure what are important aspects to you. While travel credit cards are a great way to add extra value for the money you spend, keep in mind that you'd be wasting that money if you didn't use your card responsibly.

What travel reward program do you use? What are the pros and cons of it?

Josephine Lim, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...