Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Travel Hacking refers to racking up points/miles on credit cards, and utilizing bonuses and specials on cards and then using them on trips to vastly cut down on the cost of the trips. When utilized, travel hacking can save tons of money on vacation and traveling costs. There are whole communities out there dedicated to mastering the art of the travel hack.
Some of the schemes people have with opening cards and then cancelling them etc. seem kind of taxing and complicated. However, I felt like I should dabble in these waters as cutting down the high cost of travel would be cool. So, here is what I did to plan out a mini travel hack.
Step 1 = Getting a Rewards Card. I have the Capital One Venture Rewards Card. This card builds up points and lets you cancel out travel purchases or use the points towards travel purchases. Often times there are handsome bonuses when you sign up for a card and spend a certain amount in the first few months. A lot of travel hacking schemes involve getting this bonus to start off with.
Step 2 = Get Points. I had let my points build up for awhile for regular purchases. This is my primary card so most of my purchases are made on this card. Regular points add up, but the bonuses are where you really get the points. My card for example has 10X points on booking hotels. So, I got 10X points for booking a hotel at one point at the end of last year, which helped a lot.
Step 3 = Plan to Use the Points. I had a couple of trips lined up for the first 6 months of the year, so I set a goal to have the points cover the cost of a flight.
Step 4 = Use the Points. I got to a point where I had about $400.00 in travel rewards. I had a trip to Vegas planned, for which, I ended up splitting out the flights to get two one way flights. One way to Boston to Vegas for $169.00, then the return flight from Los Angeles to Boston for $129.00, for a total of $298.
The way my card works is that you make the travel purchase, then you go back and get refunded for specific transactions that you choose with the points you have. So I went into Capital One and did just that to cover the cost of the transaction.
Simple as that! Pretty basic, I know there are many schemes out there to accomplish extensive travel rewards, but this is my first start. I definitely plan on incorporating this strategy more. However, these schemes can involve a lot of time and research, soOOooOo we’ll see how far I take it. I think thinking about what to use the points for in advance is definitely helpful in terms of strategizing how to accomplish covering the purchase.
Facebook Group: Travel Miles 101 – I found this group somewhere along the lines, and it is interesting, though I mainly just browse through it every now and then and haven’t specifically tried anything. A lot of people strategizing about how to utilize points/certain cards etc. Also people will ask for and give recommendations on traveling to certain areas etc.
Blogs: There is plenty of info out there about the topic if you google around – this guide I thought was pretty good as an intro – https://www.theglobetrottingteacher.com/ultimate-beginners-guide-to-travel-hacking-getting-started/