Couple on Swing in Beach

Travel Hack: Flying For Free In The Philippines This Rainy Season


While it’s common for Filipinos to go on vacation in the summer, often times it becomes a challenge to plan trips when the rainy season arrives. However, this doesn’t mean that we have to resign to a life of work and staying indoors for the rest of the year. We are lucky to be living in a country that is sprawling with beautiful beaches and getaway destinations, so even during the rainy season, you’re sure to never run out of places to go to!

Finding the right destination this season is easy, so is planning your budget to make it happen.

Where to go this rainy season?

First of all, you need to identify the best place to travel to despite the rain. Here are some hand-picked destinations that are still worth going to, rain or shine!


Despite being in the Visayas region, Cebu and its neighboring cities rarely experience rain even on rainy season. If you’re after some fun under the sun, you can visit Moalboal, Alcoy, or Oslob – beaches closest to Cebu city, and still have a summer beach experience even this season.

Estimated airfare from Manila to Cebu: at least ₱5,000 round trip

(Based on PAL’s travel period: July 1 – November 30, 2017)


Davao is hailed as one of the country’s safest and most peaceful cities. It does not just offer hospitality and a laid back culture, but it also boasts some of the most pristine beaches in the country and nature bound attractions!

If you just want to have a lazy day at the beach away from the noise of the big city, you can head on to Samal Island a neighboring Island of Davao, and choose to be in any of its mesmerizing beaches such as:

  • Pearl farm – 40 minutes away from Davao City via their private ferry transport, it’s a high-end beach resort that offers a luxurious beach experience.
  • Isla Reta – a beach resort that will give you an authentic island experience, not to mention a majestic view of the sunset by the neighboring Island’s mountain. It’s an hour away from the city by boat.

If you’d rather go uphill and experience the wonders of Mother Nature, you can book a trip and an overnight stay at Eden Nature Resort, located on top of a nearby mountain in Davao City! Various outdoor adventures await such as zipline, sky cycling, sky swing, and horseback riding together with an authentic mountain life experience!

Estimated airfare from Manila to Davao: at least ₱6,000 roundtrip

(Based on PAL’s travel period: July 1 – November 30, 2017)


Siargao is known as the surfing capital of the Philippines. Surfing enthusiasts are going to be in for a treat if they travel here during rainy season because the waves are more aggressive! That means more thrilling action for surfers and enthusiasts! It’s haven for people who want to eat, sleep, surf, and repeat.

For the pros
The waves in Siargao during this season are best for experienced surfers, and may not be suitable for beginners. 

Estimated airfare from Manila to Siargao (via Surigao): at least ₱7,500 roundtrip

(Based on PAL’s travel period: July 1 – November 30, 2017)

The biggest cost for a holiday is usually the flight fare, but who says you need to pay for your flight?

With the know-how and the right resources, flying for free this rainy season isn’t going to be far from your reach! You can brave a new world and be one step closer to discovering some of the country’s gems with these travel hacks!

How can you fly there for free?

With the HSBC Red Mastercard, you also don’t have to spend a fortune earning enough points for a free ticket. All you need to do is to apply for the HSBC Red Mastercard, spend a total of ₱5,000 on any spending categories with it, and you will receive your code via SMS. Present the code at a PAL ticketing office to claim your free ticket.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do that:

Step 1: Apply for a HSBC Red Mastercard before September 22, 2017

Every peso you spend on your credit card should bring you closer to your vacation. The HSBC Red Mastercard allows you to earn equal number of points regardless if you spend locally or overseas.

This means if you spend ₱5,000 in a month on the credit card, you will be earning 1,000 Bonus Points!*  If you do that consecutively for 12 months, you would have accumulated 12,000 Bonus Points by the end of the year.

* 4x Bonus Points applied as multiplier for every point earned by the ₱5,000 spending.

HSBC Red MasterCard
Min. Monthly Income in Metro Manila: ₱13,500
Annual Fee: ₱1,500 (Waived in the first year)

Feature highlights

  • 1 Bonus Point for every ₱20 spent using the HSBC Red Mastercard.
  • Get 4x Bonus Points on local shopping and dining transactions, as well as online and overseas transactions.**
  • HSBC credit cardholders will get to enjoy exclusive deals and privileges
  • Fly for FREE to select local destinations via PAL!***

**4x Bonus Points is applicable only for maximum accumulated spend of ₱40,000 per month.
***Free selected flight can be redeemed after spending a minimum amount of ₱2,000 with your new HSBC Red Mastercard anywhere within spend period.

HSBC Red Mastercard

HSBC Red Mastercard

FREE flight with PAL by just spending ₱5,000

Earn 4x Bonus Points on local, overseas, and online spending.**

**4x Bonus Points is applicable only for maximum accumulated spend of ₱40,000 per month.

Step 2: Spend ₱5,000 from now till November 22, 2017

Credit card promotions are great — but most credit cards require you to jump through hoops to get any rewards. The good thing about the free flights promotion with HSBC is that you are required to spend like how you would normally spend, and it is not restricted to specific spending categories or merchants – you can do it anywhere!

It also gives you a reasonable spending period so you don’t have to break your monthly budget. The spending period for ₱5,000 is from May 1 to November 22, 2017.

Here’s how you can meet that spending criteria:

Estimated Monthly Spending





Total spending in a month = ₱6,600

Even with a minimum monthly spending like the one in the example above, you can easily achieve the required spending of ₱5,000 in a month!

Step 3: Redeem your free ticket

Once you have spent at least ₱5,000 with your HSBC Red Mastercard, you will receive an SMS containing a redemption code which you can use to redeem your free plane ticket at any PAL ticketing office and book your free flight to any selected local PAL destination!

When redeeming your free ticket, present the claim code that was sent to your mobile phone to the PAL ticketing office, together with a valid ID and your new HSBC Red Mastercard which you used to accumulate the spend of ₱5,000. Redemption period is between June 26, 2017 to February 5, 2018.

Once the verification process is completed, you can then book your free flight subject to the availability of the assigned booking class at the time of redemption and blackout periods.

The travel period for the free flights will be between July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

The redemption is applicable for the following destinations:

From Manila and Vice VersaLegaspi, Naga, Puerto Princesa, Tuguegarao, Bacolod, Cebu, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Kalibo, Roxas, Tacloban
From Cebu and Vice VersaBacolod, Butuan, Cagayan, Davao, General Santos, Iloilo, Kalibo, Puerto Princesa, Surigao, Tacloban
From Clark and Vice VersaCebu, Puerto Princesa
From Iloilo and Vice VersaGeneral Santos

Work on those air miles!

If you are looking for ways to subsidize your annual vacation, it makes sense to get your hands on a good credit card that rewards you with travel perks. When choosing a travel credit card, the best ones should allow you to earn points not just on overseas spending, but also local spending.

Credit cards don’t just make spending more convenient, but they also bring to the table loads of privileges and rewards that you can leverage on. It’s no secret that most credit cards allow you to accumulate points that can be converted into air miles for your frequent flyer programme.  For example, if you are a frequent flyer for Philippines Airlines, you can convert your HSBC Red Mastercard’s Bonus Points to Mabuhay Miles.

HSBC Red Mastercard grants you Bonus Points every time you make a purchase both locally and overseas! It’s a travel credit card that can provide you benefits to cut down not just the cost of your airfare, but also your other traveling needs such as food and accommodation!

You just need 15,000 Bonus Points from your HSBC Red Mastercard to convert to 1,500 Mabuhay Miles. According to Philippine Airline’s redemption table, you can purchase a flight to a domestic destination for as low as 3,500 Mabuhay Miles! On the other hand, you can also shave some of the cost off on your dining with the HSBC’s Home and Away dining deals exclusive to their cardholders!

Swipe and earn

When you are shopping for a travel credit card, it’s important to check the benefits and privileges available to see if they are suitable to your lifestyle and spending habits. For example, it will be pretty useless to get a card with fantastic privileges for gas when you don’t even drive. For financial flexibility, when choosing a travel credit card, it’s best to go for ones that will just grant you points for any purchases that you make, rather than for specific ones.

HSBC Red Mastercard, features many discounts and privileges that you can earn through their Bonus Point system. These Bonus Points can easily be earned by simply using your HSBC Credit Card for any purchases anywhere! Aside from earning air miles, you can enjoy various money saving deals to cut down your traveling expenses and keep you within your budget.

One of these money saving deals from HSBC is their Home & Away Privilege Programme, which offers a wide selection of privileges for Filipinos who love to travel, and even those who spend most of their year in the country.

Here’s how much you can potentially save with the travel privileges available:

Spending categoryWithout HSBC privilegesWith HSBC privileges
3 nights at Marco Polo Plaza, Cebu₱3,665.98 per night
3 nights = ₱10,997.94
15% discount = ₱9,348.25
* Free upgrade to Sea View room with access to the Club Lounge, worth ₱3,934.82 per night.
Dining at Azure Beach Club, Cebu₱2,000 per meal
5 meals = ₱10,000
20% discount = ₱8,000

Based on the above two basic travel spending, you can save about ₱3,649.69. You’ll have more than enough savings to spend on other activities such as Island hopping, banana boat or jetski ride, ATV, or even an additional night stay at the hotel!

Don’t underestimate the power of having the right credit card when it comes to managing your finances. This does not just apply to your travel expenses, but also your daily expenses.

Just keep in mind that the key to having a beneficial relationship with your credit card is to always spend within your budget while shaving off those expenses with useful promotions and discounts. A travel credit card such as the HSBC Red Mastercard is one of the best tools to use to cut your travel cost — if you know how to make full use of the perks and privileges.

You can take advantage of all these benefits and more by applying for a HSBC Red Mastercard now.

HSBC Red Mastercard

HSBC Red Mastercard

FREE flight with PAL by just spending ₱5,000

Earn 4x Bonus Points on local, overseas, and online spending.**

**4x Bonus Points is applicable only for maximum accumulated spend of ₱40,000 per month.


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