18 Ways to Score Luxury Travel on a Budget

Luxury resort with gorgeous views (photo via Anna_Om / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Holly Johnson
by Holly Johnson
Last updated: 8:00 AM ET, Tue July 9, 2019

Scoring Luxury Travel

If you're traveling without an endless stream of money like most people, it's easy to believe luxury hotels and travel experiences are out of the question. Use these luxury travel hacks to get a taste of the 1% lifestyle at a price you can afford.

Become a Professional Housesitter

TrustedHousesitters.com connects potential housesitters and pet sitters with homeowners looking for housesitting help around the globe. While you aren't generally paid in cash to be a housesitter, this service can help you score luxury travel accommodations in destinations like Paris, London, Australia and Tahiti.

Pick Up the Hilton Aspire Credit Card from American Express

Signing up for a hotel credit card like the Hilton Aspire can help score luxury travel right away. Not only do you earn a big welcome bonus, but you get a free weekend night at any Hilton hotel, automatic Hilton Diamond status, a $250 resort credit, a $250 airline credit, and other perks in exchange for the $450 annual fee.

Consider Other Hotel Credit Cards

Other credit cards from Marriott Bonvoy and World of Hyatt programs can also help you score luxury travel. Not only do hotel credit cards offer welcome bonuses good for free hotel nights, but some offer elite hotel status as a cardholder perk.

Earn Airline Miles

If you fly the friendly skies often, it makes sense to sign up for airline loyalty programs. Not only are these programs free, but they let you earn miles for each flight you take. With plenty of flights under your belt, you can save up your miles and redeem them for a luxury trip.

Pick Up an Airline Credit Card

Better yet, consider signing up for an airline credit card or flexible travel credit card that lets you transfer points to airlines. Not only can an airline credit card let you earn an initial rush of miles, but you can use it to earn miles for each dollar you spend with your card.

Redeem Miles for Business Class Flights

If you sign up for multiple travel credit cards or earn enough miles through flying, you could even redeem your rewards for a business class flight. There's nothing better than flying business class with a glass of champagne in your hand for only the cost of airline taxes and fees.

Book Luxury Homes with Your Friends

Planning a trip with your girlfriends or some families you get along with? Consider pooling your resources to book one larger luxury home through Airbnb or VRBO.com. Not only can you save on lodging this way, but you can save on food by splitting up dinnertime duties and sharing grocery bills.

Attend a Timeshare Pitch

Some of the larger hotel brands offer timeshare vacation deals that give you drastically discounted pricing on a resort stay. You will have to endure a 90-minute sales pitch to qualify, but you can easily say "no" to buying a timeshare and enjoy your luxury trip on their dime.

Choose Your Destination Wisely

Make sure to consider multiple destinations and even multiple regions around the world. Consider Eastern Europe instead of Western Europe, for example, to score a luxury experience for up to 50% off pricing in more popular European destinations like Italy and France.

Shop for Cheap Flights

If you don't care too much about your flight experience and prefer to save funds for luxury lodging, you can save big by shopping for cheap flights. Google Flights makes it easy to compare pricing to different cities or even regions of the world. Also check out TheFlightDeal.com for special deals to destinations worldwide.

Get Free Access to Airport Lounges

Don't forget to pick up an airline credit card that lets you score free access to luxury airport lounges. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve, for example, you get a free Priority Pass Select membership that lets you access over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide.

Score Hotel Lounge Access

Some hotel credit cards let you score access to their lounges at select hotels and resorts worldwide. The Hilton Aspire is a good example since you get automatic Hilton Diamond status that affords you access to executive lounges at many Hilton resorts worldwide.

Consider Glamping

"Glamping" is a term used to describe luxury camping with all the comforts from home. Glamping experts at Under Canvas can help you score this unique experience in destinations like the Grand Canyon or Zion National Park -and often for less money than you think.

Try a Home Exchange

Websites like HomeExchange.com let you swap houses with someone vying to take a vacation where you currently live. If you can line up a home swap with someone who lives in a destination you want to visit, this scenario can be a money-saving win for everyone involved.

Redeem Flexible Credit Card Points for Luxury Hotels

If you have a credit card that earns American Express Membership Rewards points, Citi ThankYou points, Chase Ultimate Rewards or other flexible points, don't forget you can cash in points for hotel stays. Each of these programs offers access to thousands of hotels, including luxury hotels and resorts worldwide.

Book Super Early

One of the best ways to save money on any type of travel is by booking as early as you can. If you're able to book each trip 9 to 12 months out, you have the potential to get the best pricing on hotels, excursions, and flights as well.

Don't Be Loyal

When it comes to booking luxury travel for cheap, it never pays to be loyal to a specific brand. Consider different airlines, hotel brands, and even boutique hotels to find the best deal for your dates. The more you shop around, the more you'll save.

Be Flexible with Dates

Finally, don't forget the money-saving power you can harness when you keep your travel dates as flexible as possible. Consider traveling off-peak for your destination if you can. Also try flying on Mondays or Tuesdays instead of during busy weekends. Being flexible can help you save money and score more bang for your buck.

Luxury travel may be well within your reach after all.

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Helping leisure selling travel agents successfully manage their at-home business.

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Agent Specialization: Group Travel

Laurence Pinckney

Laurence Pinckney

CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

About Me