They are saying money is king — however that’s solely if in case you have money to spend. For many faculty college students, additional {dollars} are onerous to come back by, so to place it merely, my journey finances is kind of small.

You can simply name it finances journey to the intense, however I choose to name it the life of a school pupil. I not often get the very best redemptions however that doesn’t imply I don’t attempt (nor does it imply I keep at hostels). As a substitute, it implies that I keep away from spending money in any respect prices.

Listed below are a few of my favourite methods to maintain your money spending to absolutely the minimal.

Keep away from gasoline surcharges

The arch nemesis of a school pupil, gasoline surcharges are a related challenge to all award journey lovers.

They’ll usually accompany award tickets, tacking on a whole lot, if not hundreds, of {dollars} along with miles redeemed. I’ll keep away from paying surcharges in any respect prices.


In lots of circumstances, this has led to paying extra miles as an alternative of surcharges. This occurred lately whereas planning the flights residence from a weekend journey to Santorini, Greece, within the spring.

On the dates I needed to fly, there was little or no availability from Athens to New York Metropolis, leaving me with two sensible choices if I needed to fly in enterprise class. The primary was with Air-France-KLM Flying Blue:


and the second was with Avianca LifeMiles:


Whereas I’d have liked to spend the morning in Athens, I simply couldn’t justify 6,500 miles for a $270 distinction in worth. It additionally meant that I needed to take three flights as an alternative of simply two, however for 3 weeks’ value of groceries, I couldn’t discover a option to justify the price.

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Avoiding surcharges is hard for even essentially the most seasoned award vacationers — typically it’s unattainable. There may be, nevertheless, a listing of airways that usually don’t impose gasoline expenses on any awards, together with flights on their very own planes and people operated by companions.

Different frequent flyer applications move on some surcharges for some airways, whereas some waive the complete expenses for all flights. Right here’s a brief checklist of my go-to frequent flyer applications to keep away from hefty expenses, and some that you simply would possibly need to keep away from:

No gasoline surcharges on award tickets

  • Air Canada Aeroplan.
  • Avianca LifeMiles.
  • Free Spirit.
  • JetBlue TrueBlue.
  • Southwest Speedy Rewards.
  • United MileagePlus.

Some gasoline surcharges on award tickets

  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue.
  • Alaska Mileage Plan.
  • American AAdvantage.
  • ANA Mileage Membership.
  • British Airways Government Membership.
  • Delta SkyMiles.
  • Singapore KrisFlyer.
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Membership.

This isn’t a complete checklist — simply a number of the frequent flyer applications I test first when reserving a visit. Bookmark this checklist and check with it when dealing with a number of award flight choices.

Associated: Fly enterprise class to Europe with no gasoline surcharges

Fly right into a downtown airport

This one might be much less talked about than different finances journey hacks however can prevent fairly a bit of money if you’re keen to do a little analysis. Some cities have smaller airports which are situated nearer to town. This will require extra miles, and even an additional layover, however can prevent time and floor transportation prices.


When pondering of regional airports near cities, Ronald Reagan Washington Nationwide Airport (DCA) involves thoughts first. When you might take the Silver Line (or a $50-plus Uber) to Dulles Worldwide Airport (IAD), you would possibly choose to fly out of Reagan, paying $2.50 for a Metro experience that takes nicely lower than an hour.

Washington will not be the one metropolis with an airport near the metropolitan heart. Here’s a quick checklist of cities with regional airports which will provide cheaper alternate options than larger worldwide airports:

Metropolis Secondary airport
Chicago. Halfway Worldwide Airport (MDW).
Dallas. Dallas Love Discipline (DAL).
New York. LaGuardia Airport (LGA).
Washington D.C. Ronald Reagan Washington Nationwide Airport (DCA).
Seoul, South Korea. Gimpo Worldwide Airport (GMP).
London, United Kingdom. London Metropolis Airport (LCY).
Paris, France. Paris-Orly Airport (ORY).
Taipei, Taiwan. Taipei Songshan Airport (TSA).

Generally, saving time in visitors from massive airports — particularly in locations like London and New York, the place visitors will be abysmal — makes flying right into a smaller airport value the additional connection.

Associated: 10 US airports with nice public transportation choices

Ebook by bank card journey portals

Each frequent flyer has gone by it in some unspecified time in the future: Regardless of how a lot looking you do, there are merely no award flights out there for the route it’s good to fly.

You would possibly usually run into this drawback when reserving last-minute journeys or when reserving positioning flights for longer journeys. Fortunately, bank card journey portals allow you to e-book these flights with factors, even when it isn’t the very best deal.


For instance, shelling out 30,000 factors by Amex Journey for a positioning flight that prices $300 is painful. However once more, that is three weeks of groceries that I’m saving by dispensing these 30,000 factors.


That is additionally a great way to avoid wasting on resorts. When planning for subsequent yr, I stumbled upon the attractive 4 Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island. I knew instantly that there was no means that I might afford a price ticket close to $1,000 per night time.

Nevertheless, I’ve a hefty quantity of American Categorical Membership Rewards factors at my disposal from enterprise bills; I spotted I might e-book three nights for roughly 85,000 factors per night time.


Each of those redemptions give me half of TPG’s valuation of Amex Membership Rewards at 2 cents apiece. However within the case of the 4 Seasons, I get to take pleasure in three nights in luxurious with out spending my complete journey finances for the yr.

Whereas it’s not even near redemption, it’s the sacrifice I make being a school pupil. I not often get the very best use out of my factors, and that’s completely superb by me.

Associated: Battle of the bank card journey portals: What’s the very best for reserving flights?

Make certain my resort provides breakfast

There are a number of methods to avoid wasting on breakfast at resort chains. Some chains provide free breakfast by standing and others provide all visitors complimentary breakfast. In case you’re in search of useful resource, TPG has coated all of the methods to get free breakfast at resorts.


As a top-tier Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite member, I obtain complimentary breakfast at almost each Marriott model besides Ritz-Carlton.


As a school swimmer, I can inhale a $30 airport breakfast and nonetheless be hungry. Doing a little fast math, I’ve stayed 78 nights at Marriott properties this yr. If I have been to put a conservative estimate, $15 per meal x 78 nights = $1,170 in financial savings. That’s a few third of my journey finances every year that I save simply on complimentary breakfasts.


This usually means I don’t get the very best redemption at a resort. When touring for my images enterprise, I usually select a much less “flashy” possibility that features breakfast to avoid wasting on out-of-pocket bills, even when I get resort reimbursement.

Associated: The best way to get a number of the world’s most costly resort buffet breakfasts totally free

Backside line

Being a school pupil means I’ll not often get the very best redemptions when reserving award journey, and that’s completely OK by me. That doesn’t imply I don’t do my greatest to maximise factors, it simply means I do all the pieces I can to keep away from spending cash.

Even should you’re not a finances traveler, there are nonetheless some ways you may cut back your out-of-pocket money bills when redeeming your miles. Whether or not it is flying out of an alternate airport or consuming free breakfast, chopping these little bills can result in large financial savings over time.