Welcome to the world of travel hacking!
You always hear money being the obstacle to traveling adventures, but becoming a travel hacker can totally change your mindset.
There is a bit of a hustle being played out with savvy credit card users, the nomadically inclined, business travelers and that IT guy from work who always seems to be away for weeks at a time. Every year someone could potentially earn 100,000 – 400,000 miles with little or no out of pocket cost at all.
Its been going on for years now. This is not a secret underground hack you hope to keep secret and sometimes it is actually well advertised, Its just that people don’t really take advantage of it. Once the doors open and you take advantage of this trick the way others don’t, you will feel like a member of some secret travel society.
The truth is I am not a rocket scientist. But it takes some financial responsibility and a commitment not to abuse your credit cards to make this successful. Because basically that is what the game really is. If you can’t utilize your credit cards responsibility the negative effects of it will outweigh the positive. If you can’t be responsible and pay off your cards on time this just won’t work!
There are three basic methods to earn travel rewards I utilize. Introductory credit card welcome bonus points, referrals and actual travel rewards earned from spending on credit cards. There is about 50 other ways to earn points each with other strategies, but this is where the buik of points I earn come from. Let’s say there is a new aeroplan credit card offered today at your local bank and after spending $500 on the credit card it gives you a welcome bonus of 25,000 aeroplan miles. A large number of them have their annual fee waived for the first year or charge an annual fee of $120 but once you cancel the card will refund you the fee or charge you only for the period of time you had the card. Now every card is different but most after a year can be reapplied for and the process can be used again and again, This is the basic fundamental concept behind building frequent flyer points & travel hacking.
The Idea is to get, use and collect the points, then cancel the credit card and move on to the next credit card. The offerings are always changing and to play the game you need to stay up to date. Websites like flyertalk.com, Thepointsguy.com and Rewardscanada.com are some of the most useful sites to research what cards are offering today because it changes from month to month.
Americans have the best options for credit card bonus, if you can apply for and use a credit card in the United States in US currency your options are almost endless for racking up points and you could be flying free to europe 15 times a year with almost no out of pocket cost. Canadians are probably next on the list world wide but only have about 40% of the earning potential due to the fact there are only half the card providers available to us. Don’t let this knock you off your feet,with little effort there are still an easy 150,000 aeroplan points you could earn in about a years time.
After the welcome bonus points the next step is referrals and actually spending money and using the cards for building points. Getting friends and relatives to sign up is a great way to build points so if you believe in karma send me an email requesting a referral link. When it comes to actually spending money to earn on a card sometimes what you spend on will make the ultimate difference. Some cards give 3x points on gas purchases or booking a trip using their site.
After doing this for a few years now I can attest that sometimes the hardest is when you try to juggle too many cards, you end up not being able to meet the spending requirements and that can take away from the overall positive effect.
The catch is this! There are a TON of bloggers happy to say how easy this is, but it’s actually not that easy! It takes some effort and a little planning, spending time doing research is sometimes the greatest tool and actually takes time. You need to actually do some of this yourself and no one can help make this so easy that its effortless because TIME = MONEY.
Booking flight’s are a hold another hacking ball game, so stay tuned.
If travel Hacking is something you are interested in then please continue to follow my blog and reach out for some referal links. My hope is to build a small group of good travel hackers who can share resources & credit cards are just the start to the travel hacking fun!