Travel Hacking is a way of using points and miles accumulated by strategically opening credit card accounts in order to save large amounts of money on travel expenses such as (but not limited to) airfare and hotels. It is completely legal and will not hurt your credit score. In fact, in most cases, credit scores go up in the long run. So here is my take on Travel Hacking in a Nutshell.
Here are some prerequisites for getting into Travel Hacking:
Be a United States Resident or have the ability to open up US credit card accounts.
Carry no credit card debt and no plans for future credit card debt
Possess a high credit score (above 700) .
Have a willingness to strategically open new credit card accounts for the purpose of meeting a minimum spending amount to collect bonus points/miles which will be used for travel.
Have at least $1,600 in monthly expenses that can be paid with a credit card in order to meet the minimum spending requirements of the credit card issuer in order to earn bonus miles/points. If less than $1,600 monthly, there are still options to save on travel.
Be willing to spend a small amount of time to track your credit cards with a simple spreadsheet, which I will happily provide for you.
Have a travel goal in mind to help determine which credit card(s) to open with regard to the best use of airline miles and points.
Own a business to gain extra opportunities to accumulate points/miles though not necessary.
What Travel Hacking Has Done for Me
Here are a few examples of how much money I save by travel hacking:
A week long trip to Oslo, Norway from Philadelphia, PA in August in high season. Business Class round trip flights from Philadelphia. Cost of Airbnb for 6 nights in a great location in Oslo. Round trip scenic train ride to Bergen, Norway. One night in an upscale hotel. Total coast of trip if paid out of pocket: $12,492. I paid a grand total of $217. This amazing trip was featured in Money Magazine. You can read the article here: She Used Credit Card Points to Take a $12,000 Dream Trip to Norway for only $217.
Round trip airfare booked three weeks before a last minute trip to Minneapolis, MN. If paid out of pocket $382. I paid $11.20.
Round trip airline tickets to Maui, HI for $11.20. If paid out of pocket $823. Rental car for one week totally free. If paid out of pocket $223. One hotel night totally free. If paid out of pocket $260.
While there are some prerequisites to getting into this wonderful hobby, the rewards are really worth it. There you have it; Travel Hacking in a Nutshell!
When do you want to start saving money on travel? Scroll down and tell me your thoughts.