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Why 2015 Is the Year to Plan a Europe Trip

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To help you prepare for the upcoming summer travel season, I’ve assembled links to some previous posts that highlight tips for saving money and maximizing rewards for your vacation plans this summer.

Summer is coming; where will it take you this year?

Airfare

Iceland for $99 each-way, London for $205 each-way
La Compagnie Business Class NYC – London $1,007 Roundtrip
Norwegian Air to Start Offering Low Fares to US

Overall, fuel prices are down which is slowly bringing down airfare as well. Competition is heating up in some markets, resulting in frequent fare sales. Of course, there have been more than a few mistake fares lately, so keep an eye out for amazing deal alerts, and follow the special TPG Alerts twitter feed for updates whenever a new one comes along.

Take advantage of favorable exchange rates this summer when you travel internationally. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Exchange Rate

Currently the Euro is at $1.14 and the British Pound at $1.54, while one year ago today they were at $1.38 and $1.67, respectively. That means financially speaking, now is a great time to go to Europe, especially to countries that use the Euro.

The following countries accept the Euro: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

However, remember to use cards with no foreign transaction fees, like these top choices:

  1. Chase Sapphire Preferred
  2. Chase Ink Plus Business Card
  3. British Airways Visa Signature
  4. The Platinum Card from American Express
  5. The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express
  6. The Hyatt Credit Card
  7. Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard
  8. The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card
  9. Citi ThankYou Premier Card

One more TPG tip if you’re headed to Europe: travel within the continent is relatively inexpensive (either via train or low-cost carriers) so try flying into one airport and out of another for the best flight deals!

How does the IHG card stack up to other co-branded hotel cards?
Take advantage of sign-up bonuses to kick start your travel plans. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses

Currently the Platinum Card from American Express is offering a sign-up bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $3,000 on your new Card in your first 3 months, and there are targeted offers through CardMatch of 60,000 miles.

The Chase Ink Plus is currently offering an increased sign-up bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months.

Another good sign-up bonus comes from the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, which offers 40,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days. This can then be redeemed for roughly $440 off any travel expense.

Sign-up bonuses alone can defray huge summer vacation costs. Also, apps like HotelTonight (Use Code BKELLY99 for $25 off your first booking) and Uber (your first ride is free up to $20) offer sign-up bonuses for new members, and every bit of savings helps!

Now is a great time to start booking your summer vacation! Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Best Time to Book

The best time to book summer travel is right now; prices could go down, but generally the longer you wait, the more you’re likely to pay, especially if you’re looking at award booking. Delta’s new “policy” charges more for tickets booked fewer than 21 days out.

All three major domestic carriers (Delta, United, and American) now allow one-way award bookings, which could make your scheduling easier, since you can mix and match one-way awards on different airlines to take advantage of cheaper redemptions.

Do you have any favorite summer travel tips? Please share your ideas in the comments below!
Ink Plus® Business Credit Card