For a start, let’s dispel any misunderstandings: travel hacking 101 doesn’t refer to anything dishonest or legally dubious.
We are not gonna teach you spy-movie tactics to cheat your airline into sending you a free ticket to the Maldives or trick your hotel into letting you stay for a month in Aspen without paying a dime (though that’d be sweet, wouldn’t it?)
It simply refers to various ways in which you can earn points and use them tolower the cost of your holiday considerably.
By doing so, many people can travel to their great destinations without having to sell their cars and jewels in the process.
Now that we’ve covered basic definitions, let’s move on to the more practical stuff.
Relentlessly Join All Reward and Loyalty Programs
How many times you have used an airline or stayed at a hotel without signing up for their reward program?
Maybe you just wrote it off as some cheap attempt to make you buy more of their services or you just thought the sign-up process wasn’t worth your time.
Guess what? If you had joined each one of those programs, you would have already accumulated enough points amounting to a couple of free holidays.
Feeling a bit of regret?
Don’t worry, every travel hacking beginner has been there. You can change your ways and start joining loyalty programs right away.
Each time you book a flight or hotel, check whether they offer a rewardprogram. If they do, don’t hesitate a moment and sign up (it’s free!)
Start Using a Loyalty Point Tracking Website
When joining many different reward programs, it can be stressful to keep track of all the points you have accumulated over time.
This is one of the many reasons people usually don’t bother signing up to reward programs.
They tell themselves: “Heck, I already have too much stuff to keep in mind, I don’t need to add boring loyalty points to the list”.
But you don’t need to. You can use one of many apps and websites that allow you to have a simple overview of all your programs in one place.
These include Award Wallet, Using Miles, or Point Hub.
They are all free and easy to use. Sign up today and startkeeping track of those juicy rewards.
Frequently Use the Same Airline or Hotel Chain
Now that you’ve got your loyalty programs set up, the next thing to do is to… earn points!
When you travel, try not to pick just any hotel or airline, but use the one for which you are already a loyalty program member.
This doesn’t mean sacrificing your personal preferences.
Joining different programs allows you to try different providers that offer reward points and then become a repeat customer of those you enjoy the most.
Travel Hacking 101 Pro: Using best credit cards for Travel Rewards
Hotel and airline loyalty programs are great, but it can take a while before you accumulate enough points.
Things move much faster with credit card travel rewards. The only two prerequisites are that you don’t carry any credit card debt and meet the minimum spending limit.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is one of the best credit cards for travel hacking because it offers 60,000 bonus points when meeting certain minimum spending limits in the first 3 months and 5,000 points for travel purchases after that.
Some great credit cards for travel hacking are also offered in partnership with airlines (like the Gold Delta SkyMiles Card) and hotel chains (like the Starwood Preferred Guest Card).
The goal is to beat the airlines at their own game, so definitely check this out for a bit more guidance on how to do just that!