Ski trips make for some of the most thrilling winter adventures and most expensive. Here are a few ways you can enjoy the slopes without spending a fortune.
Tip 1: Use a card for free checked baggage.
Since you’ll likely be traveling with bulky winter gear, book a flight that comes with free checked baggage, such as Southwest. Or, sign up for a credit card that will give you this perk, such as the United MileagePlus Club Card, which offers two free checked bags for you and your companion.
Tip 2: Rent a car with points.
Since most ski lodges are off the beaten path, you’ll likely need a car to get you there. If you have a card such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the value of your points are increased by 50 percent when you book through the Ultimate Rewards portal. That means you can get a rental that would normally cost 1,500 points for only 1,000 points. As an added bonus, you’ll get free primary auto insurance coverage for your rental.
Tip 3: Rent or buy gear ahead of time.
When renting or buying ski gear, use large retail stores such as REI or Christy’s Sports before the start of your trip. Ski resorts are typically the most expensive places to purchase or rent equipment, and often have a limited selection. You can get a 20 percent discount when reserving gear in advance from christysports.com.
Tip 4: Use points for discount hotel.
Most budget hotels belong to one of the few major chains, so if you have hotel points racked up at a certain chain, use them on a lower category property. After all, you’re here for the snow, not a fancy lobby. Wyndham brand hotels are a good choice for budget properties at ski resorts, where you can stay for 15,000 points per night at a variety of hotels.
While skiing might be a beloved pastime of the rich and famous, you don’t have to be either to enjoy a good run.