Travel hacking can seem overwhelming to someone not in the know about how to earn and burn miles and points for award travel. There certainly are many complexities involved in the hobby, but getting started is not as difficult as it may seem. You can begin to travel hack in 5 simple steps. Just go slowly and stay within your comfort zone.
This is an important first step because it’ll guide all of your next steps. Ask yourself where you’d like to go. You can fly all over the globe on award flights, so don’t limit yourself. What type of traveler are you? Are you fine flying in economy or do you only fly in business or first class? Are you traveling solo, as a couple, or with a family? Knowing your travel style and who you’re traveling with, if anyone, helps you know how many miles it’ll take to reach your destination.
Airline and hotel loyalty programs are free to join. You’ll need to be a member in order to have an account you can transfer points into and to hold your point balances. Sign up for all U.S airlines, like American, United, Southwest, Jet Blue, Delta, etc. You also need to join the loyalty programs for important airline alliance members, like Singapore, KLM, Air France, ANA, Lufthansa, etc, to allow you to maximize all the possible ways to redeem your miles and points for free and nearly free travel.
Travel rewards credit cards offer lucrative sign-up bonuses, which helps you build your points balances quickly. All miles and points are not created equal, though. When you’re starting out, it’s better to apply for credit cards within travel rewards programs that have airline and hotel transfer partners, like Chase’s Ultimate Rewards or American Express’ Membership Rewards. These points are super flexible and can be used for award travel with a variety of airlines and hotels. Compare this with a co-branded card, like the Delta American Express, which only lets you use your miles on Delta and its airline partners. Good first cards tend to be the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Citi Thank You Premier, and the Starwood American Express.’
Once you have been approved for a travel rewards credit card, you’ll need to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn the sign-up bonus. This tends to worry newbies at first, but quickly resolves itself once they learn how many ways there are to get this done! Be organized and keep track of the date when the minimum spend requirement needs to be met, as well as any other important information about earning points with your new credit card.
Travel rewards credit cards typically offer bonus spending categories. These categories may be fixed or could rotate quarterly. Learning which card to use in different situations is critical to maximizing your points earning potential. When making online purchases or dining out, be sure to use shopping portals and dining programs to increase the number of miles and points you earn for every $1 spent.
You can easily begin to travel hack in 5 simple steps! In just a short amount of time, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your travel goals! Pin the infographic below to help you get started!
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