Home > Credit Cards > 7 Luxury Travel Perks You Can Actually Afford

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There’s no denying the convenience of modern-day travel. But unless you’re flying first class, things can get a little cramped. How can you get a luxury travel experience without breaking the bank? Don’t worry—there are a few luxury travel perks you can use to make your time on the ground and in the air a little more enjoyable.

1. Buy a Good Carry-On

Unless you plan to stay at home most of your life, a sturdy carry-on that’s built to last will pay for itself after a few years. It’s actually possible to buy luggage that could last you a lifetime. A stylish bag that can carry your essentials for before, during and after your flight can make a bad trip better (you may want to consider a good luggage set in general if you plan to travel a lot). Compare manufacturers that offer lifetime warranties, like Briggs & Riley, for example. Their warranty covers repair of all functional aspects of your bag. Did the airline damage it? Not a problem. Your dog chewed it up? It’s covered.

2. Pay for More Legroom

Some airlines offer seating with more room for a small charge (usually $50 to $65) that will put you closer to the front of the plane, but more importantly, especially for the long-legged among us, give you more legroom. That extra charge also ensures you’ll have an earlier boarding, plenty of room for your carry-on, quicker access to the forward restroom and a quicker time getting off the plane.

3. Invest in a Travel Kit

People who fly first and business class, especially on international flights, usually get a handy kit including a toothbrush and toothpaste, eye mask, ear plugs, lotion and other niceties. You can assemble your own to help you sleep better and feel fresher upon arrival.

4. Get Free Flights & Upgrades

If you have a favorite airline, it pays to sign up for the mileage program. You can earn a free ticket or upgrade on most airlines starting at around 20,000 miles (keep in mind you’ll still have to pay taxes and some other fees), which means you can typically begin reaping rewards after a few flights.

5. Get More Miles for More Perks

If you’re serious about getting free travel and upgrades, you’ll want to earn miles faster. You should consider a travel rewards credit card. You can sign up for a card associated with your airline to maximize your earning potential. For example, if you regularly fly Delta, you may want to sign up for the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, which comes with a welcome offer of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 in purchases within 3 months of account opening, which equals $500 in travel. After that, you earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus, you earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture. This card also comes with a $0 intro for first year; $95 after that annual fee.

6. Earn Miles on Every Purchase

If you’re not loyal to any particular airline, a general travel rewards card may be a better option for you. One of our favorites is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard. It comes with serious kickback—2% miles back on all purchases, plus a 5% rebate when those miles are redeemed that you can use toward your next redemption. While it also comes with an  annual fee, that’s waived for the first year. All of this adds up to making free upgrades or free flights a real possibility.

7. Get a Luxury Travel Rewards Card

If you’re looking for luxury when it comes to travel perks, signing up for a card like the American Express Platinum Card can pay off. Yes, it comes with a steep annual fee of $550 and you’re going to need seriously good credit to qualify, but the cost is offset by a $200 annual airline credit, up to $200 in Uber credits, access to more than airport lounges worldwide and no foreign transaction fees (see the card agreement for full details).

Before You Apply

Remember, before applying for any credit card, it’s a good idea to check your credit scores to see where your credit stands. You can get your credit score, absolutely free, right here on Credit.com.

 

At publishing time, the CapitalOne VentureOne, Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard and American Express Platinum Card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, these relationships do not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

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