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Mother's Day Gifts For The Traveling Mom

May 10, 2014
6 min read
Mother's Day Gifts For The Traveling Mom
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With only a day left until Mother’s Day, the TPG team has come up with a few fun ways to show your mom you love her and celebrate her love of travel- especially if you've procrastinated and need a unique last minute gift idea.

Mother/Son bonding with Easter Island Moai
Mother/Son bonding with Easter Island Moai

1. Use points and miles to take her on a trip: You’ve been saving your points and miles, and now it's time to spend them on mom! (Or, if your miles accounts need topping up, check out the Top Deals page.) Last year, I took my mom on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Easter Island. Whether she wants to see the Eiffel Tower, The Great Wall of China, or some place less exotic, a trip with you will make for a memorable Mother's Day.

2. Companion Certificates/Free Hotel Nights: We recently listed the top credit cards with anniversary bonuses, including free nights and companion certificates. Mother's Day is a great opportunity to cash in your annual companion certificate! Save even more money and put your mom up in style by cashing in an annual free night stay from the Hyatt Visa, Marriott Rewards Premier, IHG Rewards, or Citi Hilton Honors cards. Companion certificates and free hotel nights have some limitations with regard to booking fare codes and property categories, so check eligibility in advance.

3. Noise Cancelling Headphones: I don't travel without Bose QC15 noise cancelling headphones. What better way to let you mother know you love her than to help her drown you out on the fabulous vacation you’re taking together? For max points, buy them at an office supply store, like Staples, for 5x points on the Ink Bold, Ink Plus or Ink Cash, but if you don't have that option and if Mom doesnt mind waiting for shipping so you can snag some extra points, check your preferred shopping portals before purchasing. Right now, the AAdvantage eShopping portal is offering 3 points/dollar on purchases.

Bose QC15 Headphones
Bose QC15 Noise Cancelling Headphones are the perfect gift for frequent travelers (and their mothers).

4. Global Entry: Since you’ve already joined Global Entry, it’s time to help your mother join as well. That way both of you can zip through TSA PreCheck or customs when re-entering from your trip abroad! Many credit cards offer statement credits for the application fee, so paying for her application provides a nice segue into number 5…

5. Make Her An Additional Cardholder: Making mom an additional cardholder on your Amex Platinum (or another card that offers statement credits for Global Entry application fees) is just the beginning of the perks. Aside from reimbursing the Global Entry fee, adding mom as a cardholder on your Amex Platinum gives her lounge access to participating Delta Sky Clubs, Priority Pass Select (enrollment is required), Centurion Lounges (Dallas and Las Vegas with LaGuardia, San Francisco and Miami set to open in the near future) and Airspace lounges in JFK, CLE and BWI airports. I did this for Father’s Day last year, so now it's Mom's turn!

6. Buy Or Gift Miles: Maybe mom is picky and you can’t agree on a dream destination, or your schedules just don’t mesh. This is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the US Airways 100% Buy Miles Bonus! While buying miles isn't always the best deal, this promo drops the cost of buying miles to just 1.88 cents per new mile created from the bonus (There are some rules and limitations, so take note of those before going all in). Plus, buying miles for mom allows you to teach her how to redeem her own miles for trips. Talk about the perfect bonding activity!

7. Hotel Gift Cards: While redeeming your free nights or simply paying for a room outright are good options, mom might also appreciate a hotel gift card. She can use the gift card not only on the cost of a room, but also to cover meals and spa treatments. This allows mom to spend her vacation as she sees fit. A great way to maximize your earnings on gift card purchases is to buy them at outlets where you earn a category spending bonus. For instance, you can purchase Marriott gift cards at Office Depot and Staples, where the Ink Bold, Ink Plus or Ink Cash will earn you 5X points per $1. Hotel gift cards are also available at some drugstores (such as CVS or Walgreen’s), where the Hilton Amex or Hilton Surpass cards will earn you 6X points per $1.

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8. Hotel Spas: If mom is too busy to get away or would prefer a stay-cation, consider a gift certificate to a hotel spa. Thanks to some fantastic partnerships like the St. Regis with Elemis and Hilton’s Eforea spas and one-offs like the Clarins Spa at the Raffles Royal Monceau or the La Prairie Spa at the Hotel Bel-Air, you can potentially rack up lots of bonus miles for yourself if the spa is charged through the hotel and you pay with a co-branded card, such as the Starwood Preferred Guest’s American Express or Hyatt Visa. You can even use one of your cards that earns bonus points on all travel purchases, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold, or Ink Plus.

Elemis Bangkok
The Elemis Spa at the St. Regis Bangkok.

9. Other Gift Cards: If you're truly at a loss as to what your mom would enjoy, consider buying her a gift card. Maximize your spending opportunity and purchase one from, or buy an American Express or Visa gift card that works like a prepaid credit card for whatever purchase she wants to make. You can earn 2X points per $1 if you purchase the gift card at a gas station using your American Express Premier Rewards Gold. Purchasing through your shopping portal also allows for big bonuses: AAdvantage eShopping is offering 9X points per $1 on all purchases of gift certificates through

10. Make A Donation: Not all our mom’s are as excited about travel as we’d like them to be. In that case, consider making a donation in her name to a charity. Christy Turlington’s foundation Every Mother Counts is a wonderful charity that helps mothers around the world. This is a great way to show your mom that you care, not only about her, but about all mothers!

We at TPG wish all mothers out there a wonderful, relaxing and miles earning Mother's Day!

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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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