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Consider frequent flyer program miles to pay for hotel / flight

One of 10 ideas how to extend your travel budget

Though originally they are meant for flight rewards in some European countries they have more value if used for hotel stays. As mentioned above, now there are many low cost carriers in Europe. If lucky, it’s possible to find great deals like London - Milan or Amsterdam - Rome for amount less than $50. Overage 2-3star hotel price in these cities are around $100 per night. Same prices are for Scandinavia. If to compare with Germany, in Berlin of Frankfurt 2-3star hotel costs around $30 - $50. Besides, for reward flights you often need to pay airport / fuel tax. With same amount of reward miles it is possible to get round trip within Europe or 1-2 nights in hotel.
I would choose to pay for flight to Scandinavia and use award miles for 2 nights in hotel in Oslo. But if travel to Germany - use miles for flight and pay for hotel in Berlin.
Before planning your vacation take a look in frequent flyer programs, even if you don’t have enough points. Airlines often offer special deals for certain destinations. Or for example, SAS Eurobonus has special deal for summer 2010 for all flights within Scandinavia – 50% off regular points. You can find special offers like that you can find at any airline. Of course, these are the routes airlines are interested to fill in, but it could be one of your destinations as well.
In order to earn bonus flight/ hotel stays you don’t need to fly just one particular airline. Now many European airlines / hotels are in alliance with US carriers. So you can earn / spend miles with partners as well. For example if you are member of Deltas SkyMiles – can earn/spend miles on AirFrance.
From my experience, having 2-3 frequent flyer membership cards is enough to cover most of my travel activities in Europe and US. So I can put almost all my flights and hotels for reward miles. Now even mobile phone expenses are earning me miles. This way with all my regular traveling I can earn an additional trip with low total expenses or lower costs for next trip.
But don’t let frequent flyer miles / rewards cloud your judgment – choose flights, hotels and car rentals according value of trip. During my resent trip to Bergen, there was an option to use special offer for reward flight within Scandinavia. But in that way flight connections where not so good and on the way back I would miss beautiful train ride from Bergen to Oslo.

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