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What are the best travel reward programs that you make use of frequently in order to cut down your travel costs?

Answered by Shae Pepper, blogger & photographer

Our favorite is Chase Ultimate Rewards because they can be transferred to multiple airlines and hotel reward schemes. On our 50 state road trip, being able to transfer 5,000 points to World of Hyatt for a night in a category 1 hotel (i.e. fewest number of points required) is a great deal.

We were also able to transfer 160,000 UR to United for two one-way business class flights from San Francisco to Auckland. I also transferred some UR to Southwest to get free flights so that I could attend my friend's wedding.

The American Express Membership Rewards transferable currency also has useful transfer partners. We were able to transfer 160,000 MR to Aeroplan so that we could book two one-way business class flights from Melbourne to New York, stopping in Bangkok and Taipei along the way. That meant we got to fly with Thai Airways (good) and EVA Air (amazing).

One of the best credit cards is the Chase IHG Rewards Club card (that covers brands like InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and more). It has a $49 annual fee but gives you a free night certificate every year at renewal that can be used at any of their hotels worldwide. That free night can be worth over $2,000, so it provides great value.

With hotel loyalty schemes in general, Hilton Honors is excellent as you can rack up points with them extremely quickly. IHG Rewards Club can have good properties on their PointBreaks list which cost 5,000 - 15,000 points, so that can be a good way to maximize your points with them.

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