Twenty-four years ago, I knew so little about travel rewards that I took an around-the-world trip without signing up for a single frequent traveler program. Those lost points and miles still haunt me.
Fast forward to last summer, when our family stayed two nights at a luxury hotel in Venice, Italy. Our room would have cost an eye-popping 1,500 euros, or about $1,700, per night. Thanks to the points I’d accumulated using a travel rewards credit card, this over-the-top stay was free.
There’s definitely a learning curve involved when it comes to travel rewards, but delaying your education can be costly if you love to travel. For example, many people misunderstand how much points are worth, either over- or underestimating how much free travel they can get, according to a recent NerdWallet survey.
People also make the mistake of carrying balances on those cards (the rewards won’t make up for the high cost of paying interest), and far too many people earn rewards that they don’t redeem, resulting in billions of dollars of potential value left untouched.
Don’t let any of these myths prevent you from making the most of available travel rewards: