Have you ever wondered how some people are able to travel the world without spending a lot of money? One method is by signing up for travel rewards programs through airlines.
If you know how to work it right, travel rewards can come in real handy and save you hundreds if not thousands in free flights. Or, at the very least, you'll at least be able to snag some discounts.
So how do you get started in the world of travel hacking? Use our tips to point you in the right direction.
Figure Out Where You Want to Go
One of the biggest mistakes people make when getting started with travel rewards is having no idea where they want to go.
This leads to them arbitrarily choosing whatever program happens to be in front of them and then finding out later that the program is useless for what they want.
Before you sign up for a program or choose a credit card, have a destination in mind and then research programs based on your destination.
Choose a Program That Works for You
Not all travel rewards programs are created equal. In fact, some are notorious for being awful. That's why it's up to you do as much research as you can online about which program is right for you.
Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all solution. Which travel reward program you choose will rely heavily on what your needs are.
For example, if you want to travel domestically Southwest may be a good program to check out. If you want to go international you'll have to look elsewhere.
Furthermore, you'll want to see what kind of partnerships and affiliations these programs have. For instance, some airlines have partnerships with different airlines and hotels around the world where you will be able to use points for travel. Others are extremely limited in this regard.
Get Comfy With a Credit Card
While there are other ways to rack up travel points, the truth is using a credit card is one of the quickest and most effective ways to get those points quickly.
Here are a few things you'll need to keep in mind when it comes to using a credit card for travel points:
- You typically need a 700+ credit score just to be approved. If your credit isn't that high you'll have to do some work around it.
- If a program says "Get 50,000 miles by signing up for our premier card!" it doesn't mean you get those points right away. There is probably a spending benchmark you'll need to hit before getting awarded those points, such as spending $2,000 in a three month period. If you can't get this on your own consider having authorized users on the card such as family members or your spouse.
- You'll want to wait until the programs are having really good promotions before signing up. They will periodically double points and throw in extras if you sign up within certain dates. You can set up Google Alerts to keep you in the loop.
Lastly, you'll want to start putting everything on these cards. Seriously, forget using cash and you'll be amazed at how quickly those points rack up. Of course, you must do this responsibly.