Travel hacking is something I first learned about at the end of 2018 and I am happy to say I am trying to go all in this year and want to document my journey for you to see! One of the big things I believe stops individuals from travel hacking is their worry of what will happen to their credit score if they open many cards at a time. For that reason, I will also plan on documenting what my credit score is along the journey. The other main thing I want to point out before diving into my first travel rewards redemption is ensuring you hear this one thing. Do NOT, do NOT, do NOT begin travel hacking unless you can pay off your credit card statements in full every single month. The only individual who should do this is one who has enough liquid capital to be able to pay off each statement in full without carrying over anything. If you are not able to pay off each statement in full, please please please don’t do this.
Now time for the fun! The first card I have opened this year and already hit the min spend on is Barclays Arrival+. This card promised $700 in free travel redemption after a $5k minimum spend in the first three months of having the card. Many may say that it is extremely difficult to spend $5k in the first three months of opening a card, especially if you are on a path to Financial Independence and are living the frugal life. My feedback would be, I have tried designing my work life around being able to spend a lot of money on my personal cards so I can take advantage of travel hacking. I have been able to negotiate into work the ability to use my personal card for all traveling expenses incurred. I have also had the ability to step into a role where I travel approximately 80% of the time for work trips. My hopes are to hit the absolute jackpot this year with travel rewards!
Within the first month and a half I spent a little over $6k on travel expenses which I put all on my Barclays Arrival+ card. To this point, this has earned me over 90,000 points towards their rewards program!
Now let’s figure out how to go about using my points to wipe out over $700 of expenses! Below is a list of expenses I have incurred during the last two weeks of traveling.
Instead of picking something that won’t max out my points, I am going to go ahead and move on down to an $1,100 flight and redeem my points against that. Let’s click ‘Redeem now’ and see where this takes us.
Dang!! I don’t know if this is a good redemption ratio but looks like I am able to receive $1 for every 10 points. Let’s go ahead and select to use 90,000 points to wipe away $900 worth of transactions!
And boom goes the dynamite!! Really exciting that within the first month and a half I was able to make $900 in cash back based off this card. Can I get a cha-ching!
If you haven’t already, you are able to pay off the entire balance of the card, and you can frugally spend $5,000 in three months, and the offer for the Barclays Arrival+ card is still around, I would highly recommend opening the card.
The next card I have decided to open is the Gold Delta Amex card! I had something popup on my search yesterday offering a bonus exclusive for the card of 70,000 miles after a $3k spend in the first two months when the original card normally offers only 30,000 points! Talk about a steal! I already got approved for the card and now I am just waiting for the physical card to arrive at my home soon. Looking forward to tracking my next card and showing what I was able to travel hack it to!
Can’t wait to see what the year has to offer from a Travel Rewards perspective. Let me know if there are any cards you are specifically excited about and what you are planning to use them for this year!