Who loves to travel but doesn’t love the price tag??
Check out this guest article from our friends at Travel Hacking Mom on how to learn to travel with credit card points!! We hope you enjoy this article!!
As a fellow couponer, I know you are always looking for a good deal. I love to get deals for cheap with coupons but I also love to travel – why aren’t there coupons for cheap travel? A few years ago I stumbled on to the hobby of travel hacking, to add to my couponing hobby, and have enjoyed many free or nearly free travel adventures since then. I want to give you a little introduction to travel hacking and invite you to check out our blog, Travel Hacking Mom, if you’d like to know more.
Travel hacking is getting a credit card for the bonus points that are offered and using those bonus points for free travel. These bonus points are used for a free airline flight to your destination or a free hotel or both. I typically fly for free and stay for free on most of my trips. Let’s break it down:
Apply For a Credit Card
The first step in our introduction to travel hacking is to apply for a credit card. Always apply separately, if you are married, so you get the bonus twice. There are many, many credit cards to choose from. If you tend to use a certain airline all the time, pick that airline. If you want to stay at a certain hotel for a trip, pick that hotel card. A great card that we like for points that can be used for a flight or hotel is the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card. Currently, it offers 60,000 Ultimate Rewards that will get you at least a couple of domestic round trip airline tickets after you spend $4,000 in 3 months. It has a $95 annual fee that is totally worth the cost of two tickets.
With every credit card you apply for there will be a minimum spend you have to make on that card to get the bonus. Typically that is $1,000-$5,000 spend in 3 months. How do you do that? Put all expenses on your credit card. Food, internet, car expenses, phone, etc. Everything is put on your credit card! If you have a big expense coming up like Christmas or need to tires on your car, apply for a new credit card first and get those bonus points. Meeting minimum spend is surprisingly easy if you put everything on that card. Here is an article about minimum spend and meeting it.
Plan a Trip
Once you have met the minimum spend, you will receive your bonus points and can use them as you like. It is a great idea to plan a trip first and then apply for those cards that will get you there for free or nearly free. When you book a flight, you still have to pay taxes and fees but that is not much. Some hotels may charge a resort fee but many are literally free. We have many destinations on our site that tell you how we got there with points. Disneyland and Hawaii are popular destinations we have taken our families to or gone with another person for nearly free because of travel hacking. We will be doing a follow-up guide on this site about using points for Disneyland soon.
Repeat, repeat, repeat
Once you see how easy this is, you will be hooked! It’s a fun, lucrative hobby just like couponing is. The idea behind travel hacking is to always have a new credit card that you are trying to meet minimum spend on and always earning more points. So once you get those bonus points, repeat the steps above, over and over again.
This hobby is not for you if you don’t pay off your credit card bills each month. If you pay off your bills, this will not hurt your credit score – in fact, mine is higher than when I started.
Credit Card Consultations
We have loved traveling for cheap in the last couple of years and want to help others learn about travel hacking. We offer free credit card consultations on our site to help you learn all about how you, too, can travel for free. Beginner travel hackers are our favorite people to teach so please check us out! If you have questions, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make sure you check out their Gift Guide for Travelers!!
Alex Payne and Pam Iorg are a mother-daughter duo. They have enjoyed nearly free trips to Hawaii, Greece, Italy, Dubai, London, Istanbul, Amsterdam and more. They love to teach beginners about travel hacking on their site Travel Hacking Mom.