How Can I Travel For Free – Effective Travel Hacking

travel-perks

Somebody asked me once, how can I travel for free? Is it possible? Well, there several ways you can achieve that. Such methods come under the general category of travel hacking.

Travel hacking refers to a scenario when travellers work within the rules and guidelines given by travel credit cards, hotels, and airlines such that they eventually qualify to avail of rewards (such as miles and points) with the ultimate objective of enjoying free trips in the future.

While the term “travel hacking” may sound complicated and dubious, it is quite straightforward and entirely legal. Several people engage in travel hacking regularly to accumulate funds and tours all around the world.

In case you have always dreamt of taking your family members on a trip but are unable to spend on the flight fare, knowledge of travel hacking can help resolve quite a few of your problems. We probe in more detail below some of the more basic and prevalent tips for effective travel hacking.

Tip 1: Opt For Flexible Redemption and Miles Bonus Incentives

An essential part of travel hacking is to know the means of earning points and miles more quickly while not violating the prevailing rules. Some cards can help you do that much faster. One should opt for cards that offer bonus incentives attached to most miles.

Many cards offer miles in the range of 50,000 to 60,000 miles when their owners spend around 3,000 to 4,000 USD in the initial three months. Are you aware that 60,000 miles can be equal to a couple of domestic itineraries on various airlines, almost two international flight prices on a few airlines, or one international ticket with majority of air carriers?

travel-rewards

When you opt for one of the travel credit cards featuring flexible redemption, it provides you with more choices for redeeming your earned miles. Some prestigious travel cards come with rewards transfer of 1:1 to hotel and airline discounts or loyalty programs on travels, among others.

There are several travel cards in the market that offer the facility of redeeming miles for the travel statement credit. It signifies that it is possible to get reimbursement for eligible travel expenses irrespective of where you book. Several of these cards provide attractive mile bonuses when their owners spend a few thousand dollars within the initial few months.

Tip 2: Leverage Card Perks Beyond Free Travel

Not many people are aware that travel credit cards are not only useful for earning points but also offers extra perks. You and your family can enjoy these attractive perks. Hotel loyalty points and airline miles may appear to be the only rewards in the first place. But there are various reward programs like the American Express that can give the owners access to hotel and restaurant concierges, deals on car rentals, and airport lounges.

Also, reward programs can offer chances to earn additional points with participating airlines, hotels, and car rental services. Because of this, you should always ensure that you read all your travel card offers carefully

Tip 3: Avoid Cash Back

There are some cards, which enable you to cash your hard-earned points in return for a special pre-paid gift card. Although you may feel that it is a perk in the first place, it is a massive waste of your miles and points.

The majority of the travel cards offer the facility of best redemption value for your points. Some travel credit cards offer their customers a lucrative redemption bonus when the latter use their cardmember portal.

It might appear tempting to get cashback in exchange for your points. At the same time, people should be aware that it may not always be the best value for them. On the other hand, getting redemption for air travel usually provides the most attractive return.

Tip 4: Maximize Rewards For Daily Purchases

Have you studied the type of purchases you make in your regular life? Are you loyal to certain brands? Do you eat out quite frequently? It is sensible to get yourself a credit card featuring a rewards program, which is in sync with your regular spending habits.

When you get a credit card with a huge welcome bonus and use it for your usual everyday spending, miles or points can be accrued towards free hotel rooms and flights.

A great feature about any credit card, which rewards for the owner’s regular spending habits, is that nothing needs to be changed. For example, the owner need not tweak how much he/she is ready to pay for an item merely to reach a specific threshold. Also, you can earn a free trip for yourself very soon.

shopping-perks

Tip 5: Flexibility helps

Flexibility comes handy while redeeming hotel rewards and booking travel. There are a few reward programs that are helpful to earn extra points or save money when you are not rigid about your date of departure. You could be qualified for greater rewards when you do not mind downgrading your hotel accommodation.

Flexibility is thus helpful while trying to maximize hotel and airline rewards. At times, the award space appears a few days before a trip. In case your travel date cannot be changed, a backup itinerary can be booked, which can be changed as soon as better choices are available.

Tip 6: Read The Fine Prints To Get Extra Points

There are categories apart from travel where loyalty programs are available so that you can earn and spend points. You will come across several such travel credit cards that feature loyalty programs in various other categories for car rentals and dining, among others.

car-rentals

Going through the terms of the loyalty programs and studying those programs is an excellent way of maximizing your point accrual. You may earn from your mobile service provider, car rentals when you order flowers, purchase Internet service, and even at times sell or purchase a property.


These are only a few tips on travel hacking that can earn free travel and also utilizing most of the points made by you. So, do not allow the increasing travel cost to demotivate you from seeing the world with your family members. Use these tips and let the system work seamlessly for you.

We hope this post has piqued your interest in effective travel hacking, and we can solicit your thoughts and comments.  In the same vein, if you have tried any of the above, feel free to share your experience below.

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(8) Comments

  1. Fran

    Travel hacking — I like that phrase.  You have given some great ideas for piling up the little extra bonuses that can help you get to your chosen destination.  In our present day, it’s helpful to be able to find ways to make travel less expensive, especially if you really like to be on the go.  Your ideas are helpful.

    I am currently adding up bonus miles so will have enough points for a free ticket.  You have inspired me.

    1. JRandZen

      Hi Fran,

      Thanks for your comments and we are glad to know that you found our ideas helpful and inspirational. Which of the tips resonate most with you and you will likely put to good use?

  2. Shrey

    I always heard of card perks but I never enquired more about them with my bank. I think there is a lot of potential there and if I could leverage that, I would save a lot of money on a lot of things.

    Also the fact that I could get some discounts at the place I stay and the brands that I already purchase from is going to be interesting.

    1. JRandZen

      Hi Shrey,

      Yes, we recommend that you review the fine prints of your card agreement or discuss it more with your bank.  You would not want to leave any benefit/perk that you can leverage on the table.  They can add up!

  3. Jeff

    You have provided some very interesting and clever tips for traveling, and I am considering traveling to Penang in the near future and I was wondering is there a better time of the year to travel to save me money?

    Jeff

    1. JRandZen

      Hi Jeff,

      Thank you for your comments.

      Regarding travel to Penang, normally the best time to do that will be between December and March when the climate is fairly cool. However, these cooler months are the peak of the tourist season and room rates can be extremely high. To save some money, we recommend you to consider a shoulder-season (maybe November). You may want to consider using Agoda and other booking sites we discussed in a separate post to check on your accommodation options.

  4. Bo lupe

    I’m inspired by your post and I need to practice more of what you highlighted. As a passionate traveller, It is fantastic to learn about new ways to travel hack.

    1. JRandZen

      Hi Bolupe,

      Thank you for your comments and glad that you found inspiration in our post.

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