Four Tips for Travel With Your Parents
I have to recongnize that take trips with my parents is a really special experience. They spent many years planning family vacations; now it’s my turn to take the reins.
It was a lot of fun to be able to lead them around, instead of the other way around.
I took my parents on the trip of a lifetime, which started in London and continued to Ghana, Dubai, Beijing, Bali, Singapore & ended up in Hong Kong. After countless flights, surviving an active volcano, 8 different hotels & lots of laughter and adventures, the trip is done, but I can’t wait to do it all over again.
No 1. Redeem Miles for Multiple Seats
Digging into that stash of miles to redeem for multiple award seats is the perfect gift for your parents who spent so many years providing for you. If you’re unconvinced, remember that with mileage devaluations & constant program changes, it’s better to use the miles & hard-earned points sooner rather than later.
When figuring out award tickets for your parents, do not transfer or share the miles to your parents’ frequent-flyer accounts – in most cases, you’ll be charged a fee.
Instead, redeem the miles from your account for award tickets in their names. You don’t have to be on the same itinerary as them. You can do this for redeeming flexible points for example Chase Ultimate Rewards points in the Chase travel portal.
You’ll have more options if you work with one-way tickets, versus roundtrip. Keeping an eye on ExpertFlyer is a good idea, so you can see when award seats open up.
One of my most memorable travel moments was when I use miles to book my parents and myself in British Airways first class from London to Accra, Ghana. It turned out we were the only passengers in 1st class on a 747. It was like chartering a private jet for the 3 of us — but it cost me $462 & 68,000 Avios per person.
Note: Plan in advance, some airlines like Korean Air make you send in proof to book award tickets for family members.
In case you let your parents earn miles & plan to pay cash, keep an eye out for sale fares that are cheaper if bought in pairs, such as a sale earlier this year from Emirates, where 2 people could fly from New York to Milan for just $799 total round-trip.
It’s a good idea to know the ins and outs of using partner awards. Such as I have used Alaska miles in the past to book Emirates awards, but you can only do that when flying to or from the US. For our trip from London to Accra, I was able to use JAL miles instead.
No 2. Use Credits Cards for Your Parents’ Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
Global Entry is something I have grown accustomed to, and I can’t count the number of times that TSA PreCheck has saved me from missing a flight.
If you use your credit cards to get these services for your parents, your travel will be much less of a hassle, since you won’t have to wait for anyone to go through the normal customs or security lines.
The following credit cards offer a free Global Entry credi：
Citi Prestige, Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard, Chase Sapphire Reserve, The Platinum Card from American Express, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card & US Bank FlexPerks Gold American Express.
No 3. Give Your Parents Lounge Access and More
My parents did jet off to London a day before I did, so I made sure they were both authorized users on my Platinum Card from American Express, which gives my parents access to Delta lounges & Centurion. The cool part is that authorized users get the TSA PreCheck fee waiver & Global Entry too.
Note: Authorized users on this card aren’t free. It costs $175 annually to add three of them ($175 total, just $58.33 each if you add all three). However, I still came out on top because each of my parents got the Global Entry $100 fee waived plus the lounge access to Centurion Lounges and Delta.
Besides being really useful for my parents with the Global Entry and lounge access, this premium credit card has ton of other perks, Such as a $200 annual Uber credit, Centurion Lounge access, a $200 annual airline-fee credit, 5x points on airfare, Gold status with Starwood and Hilton, Delta Sky Club access when flying Delta & more.
Sure, the benefits come with an increased annual fee of $550, but when you consider the value you’re getting from the card, that annual fee is well worth it.
No 4. Be Patient and Adapt
You may have to take the hit for the team and let them have 1st dibs on the best offerings, such as when I let my mom and dad sit together in Emirates first class and I headed back to business because there were only two award seats in first. Side note — my mom gets mom of the year for bringing me back a glass of Dom to business class! (After getting approval from a flight attendant.)
I love traveling with my parents and they appreciate every moment. Be patient if your parents aren’t expert travelers, they’ll appreciate you introducing them to new experiences.