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We asked TPG readers how they're saving for travel in 2022 — here's what they said

Feb. 10, 2022
5 min read
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As experts in points and miles, we spend a lot of time educating readers about earning and redeeming rewards for free — or nearly free — travel. But there are some expenses that aren’t easily covered by points and miles and instead have to be paid for the old fashioned way: with cash.

We were curious to know how TPG readers are saving money in the new year for travel expenses that can’t be covered with points and miles — such as dining out, taxes and fees on award tickets, cash-only market stalls or when they simply don’t have enough rewards to cover their entire trip.

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Here’s what they had to say — and how you can save cash for your next trip too.

Redeem credit card offers

In our TPG Lounge Facebook poll, most TPG readers indicated that they’re saving money for travel through credit card offers. Automatic discounts and bonuses from credit cards are a great way to save money throughout the year on more than just travel-specific expenses. Eligible categories can include clothing, select streaming services and even car maintenance. Offers to save money on dining can come in especially handy when traveling.

Related: Your ultimate guide to saving money with Amex offers

Be on the lookout for credit card offers by checking your mobile apps and email announcements as well as frequent updates to TPG articles — like this one.

Make savings automatic

Another popular answer to our question about how readers are saving for future trips? Automatic savings from each paycheck. By systematically setting aside a portion of their income (while leaving enough to cover their monthly expenses), these readers are budgeting for the one-time costs of future trips — ensuring they’re not caught by surprise.

In fact, some readers are even looking into opening a new account in which to hold these contributions — like a high-yield savings account from American Express. With no minimum balance, no fees, FDIC insurance and a higher Annual Percentage Yield (APY) than typical brick-and-mortar banks, opening a new American Express® Savings account could help boost your travel fund in 2022.

(Photo by Marko Geber/Getty Images)

And with single-sign-on functionality, you can see all of your American Express accounts in one place — including savings, Membership Rewards points and card balances — making a savings account with American Express an efficient way to track your balances.

Click here to open a new American Express Savings account with 0.50% APY (as of Feb. 8, 2022 — see disclaimer below).

Utilize shopping portals

We think that online shopping portals are a great way to save money and earn points toward future travel — and TPG readers agree.

In fact, one popular shopping portal — Rakuten — even gives you the option to earn cash back or Amex Membership Rewards points when shopping online. If you’re not already doing so, start every online purchase at a portal, as the rewards you earn can go directly into your travel savings — and be used to pay for anything that can’t be covered by points and miles.

(Photo by Oscar Wong/Getty Images)

Related: Your guide to maximizing shopping portals for your online purchases

Airline and hotel shopping portals also allow you to earn rewards when shopping online — though you’ll earn points or miles in a specific program this way.

Change spending habits

One final way that TPG readers said they were saving for future travel this year was by cutting excessive spending, especially around grocery and retail spending. When it comes to saving for something you want, it makes sense to spend less in less important areas of your life.

To find ways to save, consider downloading your credit card activity into an Excel spreadsheet, and organize your purchases into categories. This can show you just how much you’re spending in certain areas — and some of it may surprise you.

Once you’ve found an area to cut, develop a plan for lowering your spend — and consider funneling those savings into an account earmarked for future trips.

Bottom line

There are a myriad of ways to save for future travel plans, and TPG readers utilize a variety of them to make their travel goals a reality.

Automatic discounts from credit card offers allows some cardmembers to save money on more than just travel-related expenses. Shopping portals are also a great way to earn cash back savings — and even Membership Reward points that you can redeem for travel — when shopping online.

In addition to savings through credit cards and shopping portals, automatic debits from each paycheck into a high-yield savings account like American Express Savings also helps TPG readers save for upcoming travel plans.

And lastly, changing spending habits to ensure that you have money for the things that matter most was another way that TPG readers are saving for their 2022 travels.


**The Annual Percentage Yield (APY) as advertised is accurate as of Feb. 8, 2022. Interest rate and APY are subject to change at any time without notice before and after a high-yield savings account is opened.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
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Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
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  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees