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Don’t dismiss travel ‘dupes’

Newer social media platforms have ushered in an era of content that is more authentic, transparent and relatable — where users are sharing how they employ financial tools like credit cards to manage their finances more effectively.

Young people are increasingly using social media as a search engine, the New York Times reports, because they prefer learning from the first-hand experiences of ordinary people. They’re turning to influencers who share travel tips about sharing accommodations and flying at certain times of the week.

A popular term among the anti-aspiration crowd is “dupe,” meaning a cheap alternative or “duplicate.” It’s often used as a joke — like a job being a dupe for generational wealth, or a toothbrush being a dupe for dental insurance — but it’s also a way of celebrating savings hacks and raising them to the same level as something expensive or unattainable.

Take, for example, airline elite status. Frequent flyers might get priority boarding or free passes to airport lounges, but to get there you need to spend a lot of money with an airline. Some airline-branded credit cards aim to help you expedite this process, but the caveat is hefty spending requirements, and they typically require you to have a high credit score.

That’s a lot to ask for many travelers — so what’s the dupe?

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The more fashionable option would be a travel rewards card that prioritizes affordability over luxury.

Consider something like the Credit One Bank® Wander® Card. The annual fee is a much more reasonable $95, you’ll pay zero foreign transaction fees, and the welcome bonus is 10,000 points after spending just $1,000 in the first 90 days. Those points can be redeemed for a $100 statement credit, gift cards or travel.

Rewards points also accumulate quickly for a card that’s so accessible. The Wander Card provides 10X points on hotels and car rentals booked through Credit One’s travel partner, plus 5X points on eligible flights, dining and gas, and 1X points on all other purchases.

Sure, a card like this won’t put you on the fast track to elite travel status, but you’ll be able to travel more often without bankrupting yourself in the process. It’s just as viable whether you’re flying to Greece or driving across the country to camp at Montana’s Glacier National Park.

The accessible nature of social media is making it easier than ever to benefit from the financial triumphs of regular people, individuals who earn similar incomes and face the same challenges.

Saving money has always been its own reward — it’s just a lot trendier to brag about it now.


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Emma Johnston-Wheeler is Staff Writer for Moneywise. She is a 2021 graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University, holding a Bachelor of Journalism.

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