Credit Card Reward Programs
& Travel Loyalty Programs:

Your Ticket to Free Vacations

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Be Responsible with Credit Card Spending. Now here's a very important note. I encourage this only if you can pay your credit card bill off every month regardless of the type of credit card you have (Visa, MasterCard, American Express). Be responsible with your credit and the privilege that credit cards give you. Floating a small balance for a few months is not out of control. I just do not ever want to encourage my friends and visitors to my travel web site to be irresponsible when it comes to credit just to get reward points. Use the credit card for things you'd have to buy anyway, not things you don't need just so you can get reward points. I realize most of you are very responsible, but I need to make this very clear so that my advice is never unintentionally misinterpreted.

Travel Loyalty Programs
Participatng in frequent flyer programs and hotel loyalty programs are especially important if you travel a lot on business and you can keep your reward points. Keep in mind that I’m still always looking for the best travel deal on airfares, hotel rates, and car rentals, but if it’s only a few bucks more to travel on my preferred airline or stay at my preferred hotel, then that’s what I’m going to do.

My travel advice includes a huge encouragement to participate in frequent flyer, hotel loyalty programs, car rental reward programs, and cruise reward programs. This is something else I regret not doing sooner as it cost me at least one free vacation if not several. At the time I started participating in frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs, I dedicated all my airline miles to United Airlines (though now Southwest is my preferred airline because of their exceptional rewards program, service, and they don't charge for checked luggage) and to Hilton HHonors, which is still my preferred hotel as every 1,000 American Express Reward points converts to 1,300 Hilton HHonors points. Hilton also lets you double dip your points programs (many hotels make you choose between getting bonus credits for your airline or getting reward points for the hotel - Hilton lets you keep both) and they used to have an amazing point stretcher program which meant you could use a minimal amount points to stay at certain hotels in the shoulder seasons.

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Travel Technology: How Smartphones are Changing How You Travel

Avoiding Jet Lag - Tips

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Is a Cruise Ship Vacation for You?

The Hidden Costs of Cruises

Five Travel Tips for Booking Shore Excursions

Tipping Guidelines for Cruises

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Avoid Jet Lag

You're packed and ready to go on vacation, so now comes the most important issue at hand: avoiding jet lag when you arrive at your destination. A survey by Conde Naste said that 93% of travelers get jet lag but you don't have to be one of them if you use my tips.
~Marianne Schwab

Book Your Trip

Booking travel online should be quick and easy…not to mention affordable and that's why I like Expedia. Did you know that you can save up to $525 when you book your flight and hotel together at For the best deals, book 60 days or more before you travel because usually the further out you plan, the better the package rate.
~Marianne Schwab

Top Travel Mistakes to Avoid Now

I have put together a list of the top five travel mistakes people make that translate into paying too much for a vacation no matter where you book your trip (through a travel agent, airline or online).
~Marianne Schwab

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About Marianne Schwab
TV Travel Show Producer

For over twenty years, TV Travel Show Producer, Marianne Schwab, has been collecting money saving travel tips as a travel producer for high profile television programs. She has flown all over the world and produced live television productions on location from Caesar's Palace on the Vegas Strip to the beautiful island of Oahu. Read more