The Ultimate Guide To Travel Hacking for Beginners
Travel hacking simply entails the optimization of frequent flyer points to earn discounts when traveling. Your frequent flyer miles can be used to gain upgrades on flight bookings and the best part is, you can equally earn these miles without even flying.
The commonest travel hack is the use of multi rewards credit cards to obtain welcome bonuses for flight upgrades. Before taking you through every step involved in travel hacking, there are some basic things that need to be defined.
Travel hacking can be attained using either points, miles or rewards.
Airline miles are issued by airlines when you are enrolled on their frequent flyer program and are earned based on your credit card spending. These miles can in turn be used to access deals, discounts, upgrades and even free flights and other bonuses.
Points are given by hotels as an incentive for rewarding loyal customers and are earned from co-branded credit cards when you complete surveys or transactions online. These points can be used to redeem free nights or room upgrades. Alternatively, they can be exchanged for airline miles and vice versa. The best hotel points you should earn are: Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy among others.
How To Start Travel Hacking (Step-by-Step)
Travel Hacking can be tough especially for beginners which is why our Step-by-step guide will give you all the information you need to hit the ground running in no time at all.
- Identify your travel goal before you start out so as to easily determine the best rewards program that is perfect for your travel needs. This will make it easier for you to attain them.
- Pick a rewards program that works best for you. Based on your destination of choice, you would want to enroll with airlines that have flexible rewards programs and multiple partners to help you earn miles faster when flying with them. Hotel reward programs should be enrolled based on the brand you prefer and the number of rewards they offer and destinations they are located in. My favorite remains the Marriott Bonvoy with 8,000 properties in over a hundred countries worldwide.
- Choose your preferred credit card. After you have made the choice of a rewards program that works best for you, the next step is to obtain a credit card to earn points with.
Before applying for a card, consider the following;
- How many points do you get as welcome bonuses?
- What are the requirements for application and approval?
- What are the maintenance and renewal fees like?
Quick Tip: To earn points faster, you can opt for credit card churning which involves getting a card, receiving points as welcome bonuses and closing the card before it’s time to pay for the annual fees.
- Find alternative methods of getting points if you are not eligible for cards or you wouldn’t like to incur unnecessary maintenance charges or ridiculous fees for renewal. Other methods you can consider to help you earn more points and miles include; participating in online surveys, shopping portals like free spirit online mall, Delta sky miles shopping, Hilton Honors shopping mall, JetBlue Trueblue shopping and lots more.
- Redeeming your points: Once you have accumulated some thousand points, you should know that the process of redeeming them is not always as easy as it may seem. To make the most of those points, there are a few tips to follow:
- Stopovers are a delightful way of utilizing your flyer miles.
- Hotel points can be redeemed for free nights and discounted stays which means you can stay for some extra nights without paying.
- You can redeem points for sweet spots which are a way of getting some insane discounts or even free one-way tickets depending on your rewards program policies.
Travel hacking is fun when you do the right things that help you easily earn points and maximize those points to get the best out of cutting the cost of traveling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Travel Hacking Still Possible?
Travel hacking has been used by so many people to travel the world on a dime in recent years and has become a trend that more and more people are leaning towards. However, careful planning must be carried out to avoid sabotaging an entire trip.
How do I Get Started in Travel Hacking?
To begin your journey as a travel hacker, you have to enroll in travel rewards programs, obtain credit cards, accumulate points and use these points on your next trip.