In 2023, we travel-hacked some pretty amazing trips, including a solo trip to Rome, a family vacation in Maui and we booked our first trip of 2024. This was the first year we really tried to take advantage of our points, and we're realizing that we've just barely scratched the surface with travel hacking. We first learned about travel hacking through the ChooseFI folks several years ago. With family all over the place, there is almost always a reason for us to plan a new trip - especially during those excruciating hot Texas summers.

Although we'd known about travel hacking for a while, convincing a French guy that credit cards are actually better than cash in the US, took some time. When Gui finally read up on the topic, the idea of having our normal daily spending pay for our already-planned trips abroad, was a no-brainer. The travel hacking rabbit hole is deep, but outside our own credit card research, we often rely on information from Travel Hacking Mom and The Points Guy. These are great places to start learning more about the travel hacking game. 

Like any kind of hobby or "side-hustle," not everyone is ready or interested in travel hacking. It's not going to be everyone's thing, and that's ok. But, if you're curious and wondering if it's something you might be into, here's a checklist to help decide.

The first thing you should know is that getting started with travel hacking takes a little time.
But, once you have the points in-hand, it's just a matter of picking where to go and finding the best conversion. 

The main concept of travel hacking is to open credit cards that offer large points bonuses. These are large chunks of points the credit card company offers when you spend a minimum amount on the credit card within a set amount of time - this is usually something like spending $3000 within the first 3 months of opening the card. 

Once you hit that spending threshold, you’ll have those points in your account ready to be redeemed for travel. The amount of points can vary, but having anywhere from 50,000 to 90,000+ points banked for just spending on your regular purchases, is honestly staggering. Just the cash redemption on these amounts (usually somewhere from $500-$900) is a lot of free money, but that value can compounded when you use the points to book hotels and flights. 

So, the idea is to hit the minimum spend to earn the bonus points on a card, then open another card and put all purchases on that one, rinse and repeat. It's worth mentioning that using credit cards to pay for purchases instead of cash means that paying off the monthly balance on time is crucial to the game. 

I don't plan to turn this into a travel hacking blog (there are plenty of those), but there's a lot to know and say about travel hacking and as frequent travelers, it's how we economize a lot of our trips. So, I'm planning to share some of our best travel hacks here and mention what we've learned along the way.