Intro to Travel Hacking

April 8, 2019

Travel Hacking 101

Welcome to learning how to earn free vacations!  We’ve earned and redeemed millions of airline and hotel points through loyalty programs and specific travel credit cards. Our family recently stayed at The Wailea Beach Resort (Marriott) for 8 nights for only $300 (daily resort fee). That’s with an upgraded suite using “suite-nights” and credit card points. Our ocean view suite with 2 bathrooms and 2 balconies would have set us back $18,000. So a savings of $17,700…yes please!

Follow along as Hello Sunny Skies shares the art of collecting points, miles, credit card opening bonuses and more to earn free travel!

Photo courtesy of Wailea Beach Resort

What is travel hacking?

Travel hacking is the hobby of collecting sign-on bonus points, loyalty points, frequent-flier points and miles by maximizing credit card points for deeply discounted travel. Travel hacking really means that you are addicted to accumulating as many reward points for the fewest dollars spent.  The simplest way to maximize credit cards points is to open targeted and specific credit cards with large sign-on bonus points.

Travel Hacking is simple and easy to do once you get the hang of it.  Most American families have one credit card that earns them cash back at the end of the year.  Many don’t realize there are travel credit cards available with much better redemption rates.

And debit cards do not earn you any points.  By using your debit card you are spending money and not getting anything in return. FYI…this used to be me!  When you use your credit card every time you pay for your normal monthly spending habits (clothing, groceries, dining out), you are earning points and miles you can put toward your next vacation.  Not to mention, valuable benefits like purchase protection, trip delay/cancellation insurance.

Sounds pretty good, right?

But before you Begin…

Tips for Travel Hacking Success…

  1. Set a travel goal so that you can collect the right miles or points for your travel needs.
  2. Sign up for loyalty programs for an airlines or hotel programs that lets you earn points or miles.  Loyalty programs are free.  We suggest picking 2 or 3 airline and hotel brands.
  3. Pay attention to details. Keep track of the day you opened the credit card, payment due dates, deadline for earning sign on bonuses.  I once was 3 days late and lost my 60,000 sign-on bonus points by not hitting the minimum spend in 3 mos. Never again!
  4. Use your travel credit cards for everything you can. A Starbucks coffee, charge it!
  5. Make sure travel hacking is in line with your financial goals. Applying for credit cards and traveling the world for pennies on the dollar is great fun, but if you are planning on taking out a mortgage soon, or paying off student or other credit card debt, you might want to pass until those items are taken care of.
  6. Be disciplined and level-up your financial savviness. To do this right you’ll need to avoid the temptation of credit card debt, as the interest accumulated will quickly negate any financial edge you gained with your travels.  Remember travel hacking works when you use everyday spending on those credit cards to earn points.
  7. Pay off your credit card balance off each month.
  8. Print off your monthly bank statements…where can you change a bill payment from your auto draft to an auto pay on your credit card?
  9. You’ll need a credit score of at least 700 (we will talk about how to improve your credit scores later.). Since we began hacking, our credit scores are the highest they’ve ever been!  Almost perfect credit!

Banks are smart!

They offer you promotions because they are aware some will not pay off their monthly balances and the banks will earn more in interest than any free travel.  Remember, I’m not your financial advisor, but want you to be aware of the travel hacking game risks.  If you can commit to being financially responsible, travel hacking will become an amazing hobby for you and your family.  You can check your credit score for free at Credit Karma.

 

Follow along in this series…

  1. Setting a Travel Goal
  2. Favorite Credit Cards
  3. Organizing Credit Cards & Points
  4. Meet Minimum Spending Requirements/Card Cancellation
  5. Maximizing Points & Double dipping
  6. Travel Hacking and Credit Scores

Now let’s get to it and have some fun together…

Our site has lots of info, but definitely does not spill all the secrets. To find out more, sign up for a 1:1 consultation with me. I will help you chose the exact travel hacking plan to make your free trip a reality! Sign up here!

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Beth S.

Tiffany is truly a credit card point guru. She was very patient and helped my husband and I navigate our credit card point game.

William F.

WE’VE SAT ON THOUSANDS OF POINTS FOR YEARS WITH NO CLUE HOW TO REALLY USE THEM. TIFFANY COACHED US HOW TO COMBINE OUR POINTS, TRANSFER POINTS AND ADD MORE POINTS THROUGH CREDIT CARD SIGN-ON BONUSES. AWESOME SERVICE.

SUZANNE M.

WE OWN A SMALL BUSINESS AND HAVE ALWAYS WRITTEN CHECKS OR USED OUR DEBIT CARD EARNING ZERO TRAVEL REWARDS. WE’VE CHANGED OUR WHOLE WAY OF MANAGING MONEY AND ARE ON OUR WAY TO A FREE LUXURY VACATION THANKS TO TIFFANY.

JANET M.

TIFFANY HELPED MY HUSBAND AND I EARN A VACATION TO CROATIA BY USING SPECIFIC TRAVEL CREDIT CARDS ON OUR DAUGHTER’S WEDDING. WE HAD PLANNED TO WRITE CHECKS TO ALL OF THE VENDORS, SO GLAD WE MADE A 1:1 COACHING CALL.

Liz R.

WITH TIFFANY’S GUIDANCE, we EARNED 400,000 CREDIT CARD POINTS BUT WE DIDN’T KNOW HOW BEST TO USE THEM. WE HIRED HER TO PLAN OUR TRIP USING A COMBINATION OF POINTS, MILES AND CASH (CREDIT CARD). HIRING HER WAS THE BEST MONEY I’VE EVER SPENT. SHE WENT WAY ABOVE AND BEYOND. PARIS HERE WE COME. 

Raving Clients

Raving Clients