How to Handle Holiday Travel in 2021


4 minute read

It’s that time of year again, the holidays are here and everyone is looking to make up for lost time when it comes to holiday travel. Of course the joy of travelling isn’t without it’s fair share of mishaps during typical holiday seasons, this year is further complicated by the Delta variant and travel restrictions. In this post we are going to give you some practical tips for dealing with issues during holiday travel (2021) and how the world of award travel can help you. 

Holiday Travel Concern: Airport Overcrowding 

Large crowds at airports during the holidays leave many people frustrated and anxious. Larger crows also make it harder to travel in groups and increase Covid-19 concerns since they make social distancing more challenging. One way to deal with large crowds is to avoid them by traveling during off peak times. Another way to make crowds more bearable is to relax in airport lounges and restaurants, which tend to be less crowded and have designated spaces to relax as well as offer adult beverages and free foods. 

How Can Credit Card Rewards Help?

There are credit cards that offer free lounge memberships like Priority Pass, free visit passes and access to co-branded lounges like American Express Centurion Lounges. 

Holiday Travel Concern: Long Lines and Delays

Of course you can avoid long lines by travelling at less busy times but even if you’re traveling during prime time you can avoid or skip long lines using the following strategies. Flying Business or First Class generally includes priority access to security lines and access to priority boarding. If you have a preferred airline and fly enough to earn elite airline status, it generally comes with perks that speed things up at the airport like priority check in lines and bag drop as well as priority boarding. It’s also good for travellers to enroll in the airport security programs like TSA Pre-Check, Global Entry, Nexxus, and Clear at the Airport to save a ton of time. 

How Can Credit Card Rewards Help?

Many credit cards offer free TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry via statement credits. Global entry memberships also include TSA Pre-Check benefits so if you have the option, GE is the way to go. Clear at the Airport Memberships can help you skip long lines and simplify the security clearing process. To see which credit cards offer TSA Pre-Check as a benefit you can check out the official TSA website for a current list of credit cards here

Card Curator can help you plan ahead for specific dates by letting you specify your travel goals. In addition to choosing your favorite airline & hotel, you can choose whether to plan your trip based on peak (Full level) or off-peak (Saver level) dates.

Holiday Travel Concern: Flight Delays and Cancellations

If you have been following travel related news and social media lately, chances are you’ve seen horror stories of cancelled flights and airport aggravation. While you have no control over things like staffing shortages and weather, there are some things you can do to alleviate mishaps on your end. Opt to fly direct rather than on airfare itineraries with layovers or multiple stops to reduce the chances that one of your flights is delayed. If you’re flying with more than one airline and have hotels and activities booked, it’s very helpful to buy travel insurance to reimburse you for a variety of non-refundable expenses. 

If you are booking holiday air travel, you should make sure the ticket allows you to change your flight or cancel without penalty through the end of the year. Many airlines have done away with change and cancellation fees so it pays to do a bit of research to make sure you can at least get a credit for the amount of the ticket. 

How Can Credit Card Rewards Help?

When booking your trips, you’re better off booking with credit cards that offer travel insurance related benefits. Many premium credit cards offer trip protection, cancellation and delay insurance. If you’re booking anything international, you should definitely consider adding separate trip insurance because the plans offer higher coverage limits and are applicable to a wider range of scenarios. 

Holiday Travel Concern: Increased Prices for Hotels, Airfare and Gas. 

With an uptick in demand for holiday travel this year, and airfare and hotel prices increasing as well; you’re going to want to make sure you maximize your return on investment. Card Curator’s proprietary algorithm,  CardArbTM,  can net credit card holders 5-10% or more in rewards return on their daily spending, helping them maximize their credit card rewards for travel. Card Curator has added a new rent category as well as the Bilt Mastercard, so users can now maximize the rewards earned from their monthly rent payments and put it towards their travel goals. This will be especially helpful with the increasing travel prices. 

If you want to save on your travel this holiday season, be sure to download Card Curator! Card Curator is available on iOS, Android and the web; and is currently offering a free 90-day trial of its premium version (usually priced at $5.99 per month).

Written by Bethany Walsh
Bethany is Card Curator’s travel rewards expert. She is a native New Yorker and a miles, points and loyalty program strategist. Bethany is also the founder of, where she works to teach people that luxury travel is never out of the budget. Her favorite vacation spots include Hong Kong, Toronto and any place with a beach. Bethany lives for a deal and has had a love (read: obsession) for the miles and points game ever since she received her first sign-up bonus. When Bethany is not lying on a beach or analyzing mileage award charts, she enjoys spending time with her foster dogs (plus her four pets) and volunteering for an animal rescue.

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