“Travel loyalty rewards are alluring, even when they’re accompanied by an annual fee. But chasing after those coveted points can lead to spending much more than you initially intended. That’s why it’s not worthwhile to have an airline- or hotel-affiliated credit card unless you’re a frequent traveler (taking two round-trip plane trips a month or more). As an alternative, use the free airfare-tracking feature at Yapta.com, which alerts you when prices drop. And when it comes to lodging, try negotiating a 20% discount off the quoted rate with a hotel manager.”
Christopher Elliott is a reader advocate for National Geographic Traveler and the author of Scammed: How to Save Your Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals ($25, amazon.com).