Welcome to part two of my mini-series of the tips and tricks I use to save for a vacation. Today I want to talk about travel hacking! Travel hacking is basically a way to get flights, hotels, and more at discounted/free price using points and miles.
I’m still new to the game and have a lot to learn, but I wanted to share with you what I’ve learned and used so far!
Travel Hacking For Faster Savings:
Ever since I learned about getting and using travel credit cards to stack up miles and points, I’ve been hooked! There are so many airline, hotel, and general all-purpose travel credits out there that you’re bound to find something that works for you. (Note, do not even think about getting a travel rewards credit card unless you are the type of person that can pay off your balance in full each month. The interest rates on travel credit cards are higher than most other credit cards, so it is not worth getting into debt for! End Rant.)
The way these travel rewards cards generally work is, in order to entice new customers, the credit card companies will offer big signup bonuses (after you meet certain spending requirements). These are great ways to boost your miles and points to redeem for great travel awards.
Currently, I have two that I’m using, though I may add more in the future.
To give you an example of how I’ve racked up and used points, in September of this year (2017), my boyfriend and I are going to Spain for 9 days. The plane tickets were super cheap so I didn’t need to use any miles/points. I did end up using points for our hotel stay. I was able to book the Four Points Sheraton hotel for all nine days using some of my Amex SPG points and paid nothing out of pocket. Yup, $0 out of pocket. This stuff works ya’ll!
To read more about the best travel cards, head on over to the Points Guy, who goes into detail about all of the travel and points cards that are on the market.
Sign up for loyalty programs
Sign up for airline and hotel loyalty programs. When you sign up for these programs, which is free to do, you’ll be given an account number. Each time you fly that airline or stay in that hotel and use your account number, you’ll earn points!
Online Shopping: Accumulating Points and Cash Back Options
95% of the time I do my shopping online. I hate going into stores, dealing with crowds, pushy sales people, etc. Many of you have probably heard of ebates which is a great way to earn cash back when you shop online. I’ve used it and it definitely works! While ebates is a great option, it’s not always the best option for getting the most shopping rewards.
Enter evreward! Evreward is a website that lists every shopping reward available for the website you are looking to shop from. Let’s take Sephora as an example. If I am going to shop at Sephora, I will go to evreward and enter it into the search bar. I will then get back results of what shopping rewards I can get using different programs.
From the image above you’ll see that Ebates is only offering 4% cash back, while other places are offering more at 5%. I will then use my cashback earnings and deposit it into my travel fund. Maybe you’d rather not get cash back and instead want to earn miles and points. With evreward, you can see how many points and miles different loyalty programs are offering. You’ll then want to click on the orange arrow on the side and it will take you to that shopping portal that you selected.
There are so many ways to accumulate points that I can’t even begin to talk about or you’ll be here reading forever. Fortunately, there are a lot of blogs dedicated to miles and points and how to effectively use them that I find are great resources:
Let me know if you’ve tried any of these in the comments below!