Everyday we learn something new....
Today I learned about travel hacking...
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Travel Hacking: the act of using airline and hotel milage and loyalty programs and incentives in a manner that gives the customer the best value for mileage/points use. AKA traveling for free - its all about credit cards.
Here is how you do it
1. Signup for airline credit cards
You cannot "hack" the system if you do not participate in the programs. This is the starting point to traveling for free. If you do not currently have a credit card through an airline they will offer you bonus miles for new card members that typically will be enough for at least one free rewards ticket. Also free checked bags, priority boarding and short cuts to elite status are just a few of the other perks of airline credit cards.
*Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has everything the Capital One Venture offers and more. If you book your travel through their travel website your points are worth 25% more!
2. Everyday purchases add up
One of the easiest ways to rack up points is by using the card for everyday purchases and often times when you shop at a certain retailer(s) the card rewards you with "double" points. You can keep track of which stores offer the promotions by monitoring your credit cards website.
3. Generic credit cards
You probably already have a credit card like Capital One or Visa but are you aware of what kind of rewards you earn? You need to make sure you are earning at least 2% or more on purchases when redeemed for travel. Like airline cards these cards also offer sign up incentives that can be worth up to $400.
*Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers 40,000 points upon sign up when you spend $3,000 in the first three months. And 2x points on every purchase everyday.
4. Utilize travel aggregators
Compare, compare, compare prices - never settled for the first ticket you see and never just check one website. It is best to use websites like Kayak that will compare prices with other travel aggregators such as CheapOair, Expedia and Priceline. Why should you search all the websites when one can do it for you.
Once you check the conventional travel websites then go to Momondo. It is the same type of website but it offers a unique price calendar that can tell you just how much being flexible on your dates can save your wallet. It also has a "fee detective robot" on its website that will list all the fees it detects so before you purchase you know what is in the total costs.
6. Plan in advance - watch for cheaper flights
It is not always possible to plan a couple months in advance for a trip but it is best if you are able. Use the free website Airfarewatchdog to be notified when lower fares become available.
7. Follow these:
These three post will keep you up to date on deals, earning miles and cheap tickets.
8. Challenges and Matches
Challenges are what airlines offer card holders as a way to earn elite status and it involves earning a certain amount of points or miles within a set time frame. Matches are different, once you reach elite status you can leverage your status with other airlines and have it go from airline to airline.
9. Hotels = Miles
Many hotels offer you airline points as an incentive to stay with them. Take advantage! Check out Rocket Miles - they have partnered with many of the major airlines and when you book through their website you can earn thousands of mileage points.
10. Award Wallet - Keep track of your points all in one website!
"AwardWallet keeps track of your reward programs such as your frequent flyer miles, hotel and credit card points. Currently we are tracking a total of 50,773,293,949 miles and points for our members across 634 loyalty programs."