Get Started Travel Hacking the Easy Way
Chances are that if you’ve been around the internet for a bit you have heard of something called Travel Hacking. If, however, this is a completely new concept for you I’ll give a quick overview.
Why Travel Hack
Since you are here my guess is you like saving money. Travel hacking is a great way to travel around the world, without breaking the budget. With travel hacking my wife and I have been able to fly to Denver, Portland, and Hawaii, roundtrip, all for free. Now we don’t fly first class or travel fancy, but more on that later.
What is Travel Hacking
Travel Hacking is the practice of using credit cards to earn points or miles towards travel. This can look different for different people. It all depends on your goals, maybe you want to fly for free first class or maybe you want to stay in a five-star hotel with zero cost to you.
Travel hacking can be done a number of ways, but before I get into that, I must ask one very important question.
Do you pay off your credit cards every month?
If you answered “No” please stop reading now. Travel hacking only works if you pay off the bill in full every month. If you don’t, you negate any rewards you may earn by paying interest.
How to Get Started
Now that we have that out of the way, where was I… ah yes, how does one accomplish “travel hacking”.
There are a few different ways, the most popular being signing up for a credit card that carries a signup bonus of points or miles. These bonuses are usually centered around the premise of minimum spend. What that means is that in order to earn the credit card bonus you have to spend X dollars in a certain time limit, usually a few months. after opening the card. This is usually anywhere from a few hundred dollars, up to a few thousand (business cards can be higher, but I won’t get into that today).
That sounds too good to be true and complicated.
I assure you it is not too good to be true. Credit card companies want you to sign up for their cards, then carry a balance from month to month. Why, because then they will be able to charge you interest and in turn make money. However, remember we pay our cards off every month so this doesn’t happen.
While it sounds complicated, it’s really not as bad as it seems. Take the following hypothetical example.
In the past 6 months find out the average you spend every month. Let’s pretend it’s $1000 (yes I like easy math). This means that we would look for cards that have a minimum spend averaging out to under $1000 a month.
That’s right, the key to travel hacking is this: only spend money you are already spending!
From here you put everything on your new credit card, yes I mean everything, well everything that won’t charge you an additional fee.
I told you it was easy. After a few months of charging your purchases to your credit card, while paying them off every month, you’ll soon have a nice chunk of miles with very little effort. Oh and did I mention, as an extra bonus, you get points and miles simply for using your card! That means that as you are spending money towards the minimum spend, you are also earning points as you go.
Now that you have these miles what do you do with them?! Stay tuned for my next post about redeeming miles for maximum value!