Tips for Family Travel Rewards Redemptions

Tips for Family Travel Rewards Redemptions
Tips for Family Travel Rewards Redemptions

Tips for Family Travel Rewards Redemptions

Planning a family vacation using your travel rewards credit cards can help offset costs and allow you to afford more trips and experiences with the kids.

With the right redemption strategies, you can book free flights, discount hotel rates, and score other travel perks to make family trips more affordable and enjoyable.

In this guide, we’ll explore ways to maximize the value of credit card points, airline miles, and hotel rewards when booking award travel for families.

Family Reward Travel Overview

Traveling as a family comes with a long list of expenses. Here’s how rewards programs can help:

  • Use points and miles for free flights to cut airfare costs
  • Book discounted hotel rooms with rewards programs to save on lodging
  • Take advantage of bonuses for extra guests to keep costs down
  • Access airport lounge amenities like snacks and entertainment during long layovers
  • Unlock VIP status forearly boarding, free checked bags, and other benefits
  • Cover incidental fees like checked bags, seat selections, and in-flight WiFi

With the right credit card and loyalty program strategy tailored to families, you can take more vacations for less.

Airline Loyalty Programs for Families

Airline frequent flyer programs offer several options to make award travel more affordable for families flying together.

Companion Tickets

Some programs allow using miles to book a companion ticket for free or very discounted. For example:

  • Delta allows up to 8 companions on domestic economy awards.
  • United charges just taxes/fees for a companion on international business/first awards.
  • Air France/Flying Blue offers Promo Rewards for discounts on companion fares.

Family Rewards Pools

Pool programs combine household miles into one shared reward account.

  • American AAdvantage lets family members combine miles into one account.
  • Singapore KrisFlyer lets up to seven members pool miles.
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Extra Award Seats

Mileage redemptions can sometimes book extra seats beyond just the primary traveler:

  • American AAdvantage miles can book up to 5 awards simultaneously.
  • Avianca LifeMiles allow booking two tickets for the price of one on select routes.
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club allows up to two kids under 12 on award tickets for taxes and fees only.

Hotel Programs Maximizing Family Travel

Hotel loyalty programs also offer redemption options tailored to families:

Zone 2-4 Free Nights

Some programs offer a free night certificate for Category 1-4 hotels which can provide room savings on family trips. For example:

  • IHG One free night anniversary certificate valid at Holiday Inn Express and other brands.
  • World of Hyatt One free night in Category 1-4 hotel every card anniversary.
  • Radisson Rewards One free night at over 70% of properties worldwide.

Suite Upgrade Certificates

Certificates allow upgrading a standard room to a suite, providing more space for families.

  • Marriott offers suite night awards at many brands including Residence Inn.
  • Hilton offers weekend night rewards that can be used for suites at some properties.
  • Hyatt provides confirmed suite upgrades as an elite status perk.

Kids Stay Free

Some loyalty programs or individual hotel brands offer free stays for kids with paying adults:

  • IHG Kids Stay Free – Two children under 18 stay free with one paying adult at participating locations.
  • Wyndham Hotels – Two children under 18 stay free in parents’ room in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Omni Hotels – Two kids under 18 eat free and stay free in parent’s room.
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Redemption Promotions

Periodic promotions offer discounted award prices for family travel:

  • Accor Live Limitless features family discounts like 33% off second room booked with points.
  • IHG often offers sales like 50% off for double occupancy point stays.
  • Marriott family packages provide discounted awards bundling flights, hotels, and rental cars.

Earning Points and Miles for Family Travel

The right family credit card strategy can help you rack up points for free family flights and hotel stays faster. Look for:

Lucrative signup and spending bonuses – Meet large minimum spends required to earn tens of thousands of points upfront.

Bonus categories – Maximize points on everyday purchases like grocery stores, dining, streaming services, gas stations, and rotating quarterly categories.

Family pooling abilities – Transfer points between household member accounts to consolidate for redemptions.

Referral bonuses – Earn extra points when approved for cards referred by other family members.

Child authorized user bonuses – Put teens on your account responsibly to earn more rewards.

Brand alignment – Focus earning on 1-2 primary airline/hotel programs where you can maximize status.

Flexible point programs – Transferable currencies keep family redemption opportunities open across multiple brands.

Maximizing Value of Family Travel Redemptions

Follow these tips to maximize value when redeeming points and miles for family trips:

  • Book premium cabin awards early when possible to experience luxury flights as a family.
  • Pool points from all family members into one primary account for easier redemptions.
  • Take advantage of extra companion seats and kids discounts when booking awards.
  • Consider hotels offering kids free, family suites, resort credits, and other perks.
  • Time summer and holiday redemptions to align with peak family travel season.
  • Fly into one airport but return from another to maximizesightseeing.
  • Splurge on once-in-a-lifetime experiences like Disney packages or safaris.
  • Use points for high-value activities like tours, amusement parks, and other attractions.
  • Pay for incidental fees like seat selection, WiFi, and bags with points when possible.
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Should Your Family Focus on Travel Rewards?

Maximizing travel rewards makes the most sense for families that:

  • Take at least 2-3 longer domestic or international trips per year together
  • Spend $5,000+ annually on flights, hotels, theme parks, tours etc
  • Prefer redeeming points for experiential travel versus cash-back
  • Are loyal to one or two primary airlines and hotel chains
  • Have the budget to afford annual credit card fees if applicable
  • Can pay off balances monthly to avoid interest costs

Less frequent traveling families may find a general cashback credit card provides better value through statement credits and simplicity over chasing bonuses.

Final Thoughts on Family Travel Redemptions

Booking award travel as a family requires planning and flexibility, but the savings are immense. Taking two weeks to scrutinize award charts is well worth eliminating thousands in airfare and lodging costs for a one-week getaway.

Pick a primary airline and hotel program for the bulk of your family’s earning and redemptions. Diversify credit card applications between adults to maximize bonus opportunities. Refer each other for extra points.

Most importantly, enjoy those family trips and make memories that will be cherished for a lifetime. Reward travel allows you to afford experiences together that otherwise may be out of reach.

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