Traveling on a budget can be a major disruption factor in your trip plans. With a little bit of insider know-how and a little bit of research, you will find that travel has never been more affordable!
What’s the catch? I usually get asked that question. Today, I am going to reveal the secret – none whatsoever. There is a secret to attaining that comfort without sacrificing anything and at no extra cost.
The secret – travel hacking!
Many seasoned travelers, over the years, have been doing it – saving their money and traveling the world for free. Travel Hacking is the art of using those subtle benefits – from mileage points to upgrades and endorsements, and many other attractive perks to traveling for free.
How To Earn Free Hotels And Free Flights In 2022
Let’s get on to how it’s achieved :
1. Figure out your travel plans
Start figuring out a pattern in your travel plans. Answer these things to get started:
a. Your goal (Is it free flight tickets or free hotels or both?)
b. Airlines (Do you fly the same airline regularly? Are you keeping tabs on your mileage points?)
c. Upgrades (Are you trying to upgrade your current ticket?)
d. Destinations (Understand that each credit card has different transfer partners and related perks. So, choose wisely)
2. Choosing the magic credit card
The key word here – is a welcome bonus! Find which credit cards offer a staggering welcome bonus with tons of points! These points essentially translate into a free flight – so why not?
The caveat is obviously the spending requirement, but if your regular spending covers it – you are set! What if your regular spending doesn’t cover it? Worry not. Just ask your friends/family to schedule some major purchases on your card, so that they can pay you back in cash. It’s just about earning that welcome bonus!
It is important that you look into the points programs and understand which credit card is the best for you. Different cards are suitable for different scenarios (some cards offer higher points in travel spending, some in grocery, some in restaurants, and so on). Don’t forget to check if the points are transferable to other accounts.
As a rule, try not to apply for too many credit cards at once (a maximum of 3). Spread your applications a few months apart. Be smart about it! For every few dollars you spend, you will earn points that will accumulate to sponsor your free trips!
Some resources to get started :
a. The Points Guy (https://thepointsguy.com/)
b. View from the Wing (https://viewfromthewing.com/)
If you are not from the US, worry not! There are still many amazing resources out there that are just a search away. To get you started (for non-Americans):
a. Head for Points (UK) (https://www.pointhacks.com.au/)
b. PointHacks (Australia) (https://princeoftravel.com/)
c. HeadforPoints (UK) (https://www.headforpoints.com/about-this-blog/)
Explore your options. Find the right one for you. With the magic credit card under your belt, you got to be prudent and think about maximizing the rewards you can earn. Don’t forget to bench all those expenses unto the cards and earn points. Let the points accumulate as you go about your daily life.
3. Getting the accommodation perks!
Don’t forget to use Booking.com while booking accommodation. Check out its perks! As you continue to use the app (don’t forget to download their app on your phone), you will get a lot of bookings. com-only prices. Offers will continue to stack up as your levels increase. Higher the level, the more perks you will get.
Every mass-booking site has its own set of perks and benefits. Don’t forget to explore more and earn those perks!
4. Ready to travel? Consolidate your points first.
If you have points and miles spread out over multiple accounts, remember to consolidate them into one program before you book your trip.
Most travel credit cards have multiple partners you can transfer your points to. This allows you to consolidate your points for maximum rewards.
For example, if you’re looking to book a Star Alliance flight (let’s say Lufthansa) and you have Chase points as well as American Express points, you can transfer both of those to Air Canada or Singapore Airlines (both of which are part of Star Alliance) and then use their loyalty program to book the Lufthansa flight you want. (Chase doesn’t transfer directly to Lufthansa.)
It’s for this reason that it’s important to outline a goal at the beginning of this process. That way, you can avoid spreading your rewards too thin over too many cards. By focusing your rewards on cards that have viable transfer partners, you can earn rewards faster and easier.
5. Enjoy the perks of travel hacking
So, now that we have got the magic credit card all set, don’t forget to enjoy the other hidden benefits of owning that card: lounge access, booking discounts on accommodation and car rentals, free extra baggage, free upgrades, less to none foreign transaction fees, additional travel insurance and so on.
As you use these tips and enjoy the cheap to free flights, accommodations, and rentals, feel free to share these hacks with your travel enthusiast friends. Let’s all travel more and spread happiness all around.