This is the second part of this series- how to hack travelling. Travel hacking is nothing but finding out a transparent, meticulous and clever way to make your travel less-costly. Let's face it, it is never FREE but we can significantly lower that cost. For most travelers, costs associated with flights and hotel (FnH) account for the largest % of total $$$ of any trip. And we have to work to hammer FnH cost to almost nothing which would leave us to spend on food and sight-seeing. While that also can be reduced, not nearly as much as the flight and hotels.
If you guys haven't yet read the first part, I would encourage you to read it before you continue. You can find it HERE-PART-1.
So I described the first two steps-
Step 3- Sign up for Cashback and Airline Shopping Portals
Above are only 2 from various available shopping and airline portals that I use which has the potential to rack up some serious cash and miles. And I am a moderate shopper. Idea is if you do ANY online shopping, ALWAYS go though these portals. No amount is small amount in this hobby. And it adds up rather quickly. Till date, I have earned thousands of $$ and well above 50k miles from these portals alone and believe me when I say I am a very small fish in a gigantic pond. For that, you have to sign up for the reputed cashback portals. You can use the below links to sign-up.
Above ones are the most compelling cashback sites/portals that I can think of and use personally. Please note that few of these are referral links and I might earn a small $ amount. I really appreciate that. Remember, almost all airlines have a shopping portal. So if you want, please refer back to Part 1 of this article and go through the airlines programs that interest you and sign-up for their portal.
Before we move onto the next step, please note two of the most important things about this step-
Step 4-Understand the term 'Manufactured Spending'. Start SLOW.
If you already heard about this term, good for you. If not, here is a primer. Understand the single biggest way to earn lots of miles and points is signing up for credit cards. And thus earning the credit card sign-up bonuses. But the bonus is earned after you meet a specific spend criteria. The language will often be like-
You can earn 50,000 points after you spend 4,000 dollars in the first 3 months of card opening
Earn $500 sign-up bonus once you spend $2000 in first 3 months, earn $100 more after spending $6000 in first 6 months
You would notice the offers are very lucrative. And you might have a planned spend coming up, probably a tv in the thanksgiving or a refrigerator needs to be replaced. So it is easy for you to meet the spend, thus earn the bonus. But very quickly you would realize 50,000 miles is not enough- not nearly enough. It certainly is better than the days when when you didn't earn any bonus, used to grocery-shop using a debit card (more on this later). You would soon realize that you would need to sign-up for the 5 credit cards.
Scaling is the biggest challenge in our hobby. So all of a sudden, you have to spend $15000 in 3 months. Not so easy now. Most of the ordinary people would not have a planned spend like this. And before we go deeper into this, always have a plan to meet the spend if you are targeting a credit card sign-up bonus. It is one mistake you can't afford to make. This is where "Manufactured Spending" comes up.
As the name suggests, you would have to manufacture the spend. Paying your monthly rent/mortgage using ACH transfer or writing a check is Organic Spend, finding a way to use credit cards to pay for it is manufacturing spend. Using a credit card to buy thousands of dollars worth of gift cards and using those gift cards to pay-back the same credit card is you manufacturing the spend. Please do remember the following points-
I am here to answer your questions to the best of my ability.
In the next part, I would discuss various strategies/steps to apply for multitude of credit cards and which ones you should apply for. Until then, stay safe and let me know in the comments if you are liking the content and how/what you would like it improved?