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How to Earn Free Plane Tickets for Your Next Vacation

Yup, it's totally possible.
How to Earn Free Plane Tickets for Your Next Vacation
IMAGE Giphy.com
Yup, it's totally possible.

Travel is fun. But saving for it, especially if you’re on a budget? Not so.

The good news is, you can turn that fantasy vacation into reality with a bit of judicious spending and a whole lot of creativity. Consider this: Since you spend on essentials every day, might as well make that work for you by charging your regular spending to a credit card that earns you miles and cash rebates. As long as you pay for it on time and in full each month, you’ve got nothing to lose.

We’ve rounded up the best travel cards on the market that allow you to not only earn rewards that you can use for airlines and hotels, but also score you travel benefits like insurance, travel assistance, and lounge access. Let your credit card work just as hard as you do, so you can enjoy that vacation at the least possible cost.

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1. The Starter Card: BPI SkyMiles Mastercard

Most credit cards geared towards travel tend to be on the premium side of the spectrum. But with an annual income requirement of P180,000 only, the BPI SkyMiles Mastercard is a great starter card for fresh graduates who want to start collecting those miles early. Redemption is easy, too. Points are automatically credited to your SkyMiles account, no need to call or fax to convert spending into miles.

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Rewards: 1 SkyMiles mile = P45 

Partner Airline: Delta Air Lines and its SkyTeam partners

Note: SkyMiles miles are transferrable and do not expire. Supplementary card points are automatically added to points of principal.

Travel Insurance: Up to P10 million when travel tickets are charged to card.

Lounge Access: None

Annual Income Requirement: P180,000

Annual Fee: P2050

2. Lowest Miles Conversion Rate: Metrobank Travel Platinum Visa

It’s quicker to start earning points and miles with the Metrobank Travel Platinum Visa. It offers the lowest miles conversion rate in the market at P17 to 1 mile for travel, hotel, airline, and overseas spend and P20 to 1 point for all other transactions. 

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Rewards: 1 mile = P17 on travel, hotel, airline, and overseas spend. 1 Point = P20 spend on all other transactions.

Partner Airline: Asia Miles, Mabuhay Miles, Singapore KrisFlyer Miles

Note: 2.5 points = 1 air mile, 10,000 minimum points for redemption and redeemed in increments of 10,000 points

Travel Insurance: Accidental Death/Disablement insurance up to P5 million when travel tickets are charged to card.

Lounge Access: FREE Priority Pass Membership with access to 950 lounges worldwide

Annual Income Requirement: P800,000

Annual Fee: P5000

3. Most Flexibility: Unionbank Miles+ Platinum

Unionbank Miles+ Platinum offers ultimate flexibility with their cashback rewards system wherein you can book any airline and any hotel and not be limited to mileage programs. You get to accelerate your points collection every time you use your card to book hotels, tickets, and overseas spend (online or face-to-face), because you gets 1.5X points for every P25.

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Rewards: 1 point = P25, 1.5x = P25 for travel related and overseas spending

Partner Airlines: Convert points to cash to travel with any airline of your choice, or convert points to Mabuhay Miles or Cebu Pacific GetGo points

Note: Points do not expire.

Travel Insurance: Up to P10 million when travel tickets are charged to card.

Lounge Access: Skyview Lounge at NAIA Terminal 3, Club Manila Lounge at NAIA Terminal 1, MIASCOR Lounges at NAIA Terminal 1 and Davao International Airport

Annual Income Requirement: P600,000

Annual Fee: P3000

4. Range of Rewards: Citi PremierMiles

With the Citi PremierMiles, you don’t only use your miles to book flights and hotel stays, your miles are also as good as cash. You can use your miles to pay off other travel expenses such as cruises and car rentals, and instant redemptions at select stores. Plus, when you apply from now until until September 30, 2018, you get a P5000 eGift redeemable at Nike Park, T.G.I. Fridays, Vikings, Tim Ho Wan, Travelbook.ph, or any Giftaway.ph merchant with a minimum spend of P20,000 within 60 days from receipt of card.

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Rewards: 1 mile = P30 spend

Partner Airlines: Asia Miles, Cebu Pacific GetGo, Delta SkyTeam, Etihad Guest, Eva Air Infinity MileageLands, KrisFlyer, Mabuhay Miles, Malaysian Airlines Enrich, Royal Orchid Plus 

Note: Miles do not expire. No hassles like blackout dates or limited seat availability through Citi ThankYou Rewards.

Insurance: Up to P1million in case of loss of life due to accidents plus travel inconvenience protection when travel tickets are charged to card.

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Lounge Access: FREE DragonPass membership with access to Miascor, Sky View, and over 1000 international lounges 

Annual Income Requirement: P250,000 for first time cardholders

Annual Fee: P2500

5. Worry-Free Travel: American Express Platinum Credit Card

BDO has a full range of credit cards travellers can choose from, being the only local bank that issues six card brandsMastercard, Visa, JCB, UnionPay, Diners Club, and American Express. But when it comes to travel benefits that are best in class, the American Express Platinum Credit Card is guaranteed to cover all bases–from lounge access and travel insurance, to purchase protection, travel counselor support, Global Assist for for medical and, legal emergencies while abroad and travel service assistance for travel-related inquiries and concerns. Perfect especially for the traveler who think life’s a ball, but also likes being prepared for life's curve balls. 

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Rewards: P45 = 1 Membership Rewards Point = 1 Mile

Partner Airlines: Asia Miles, Delta SkyMiles, KrisFlyer, Mabuhay Miles, Malaysian Airlines Enrich, Royal Orchid Plus

Note: Supplementary card points are automatically added to points of principal.

Travel Insurance: Accident and Dismemberment up to P20Million, Travel Inconvenience Protection up to P200,000, Trip Cancellation and Curtailment up to P200,000, Accident Medical Expense Coverage up to P1.5Million

Lounge Access: Cardholder and guest get access to the Skyview Lounge at NAIA Terminal 3, Miascor Lounge at Clark International Airport, and Davao International Airport.

Annual Income Requirement: P1,800,000

Annual Fee: P5000

6. Accelerated Rewards: HSBC Platinum Visa

If you want to fast track your travel plans, consider swiping away with an HSBC Platinum Visa. You get three bonus points for every P20 spent on local shopping and dining, four bonus points for every P20 spent on overseas spendingboth actual and online. Plus, you earn one bonus point for every P20 spent on everything else.

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Rewards: 1 mile = P25

Partner Airlines: Asia Miles, KrisFlyer, Mabuhay Miles

Note: Enjoy waived Annual Fees for Life when you apply for an HSBC credit card online until July 31, 2018

Travel Insurance: Travel Insurance of P10 million for the principal, P5 million for spouse and P500,000 for children for accidental death, dismemberment with unprovoked murder & assault

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Lounge Access: None

Annual Income Requirement: P500,000

Annual Fee: P5000

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