Travel Hacking for Beginners
Travel hacking usually involves collection air miles to redeem against future flights, hotels and other travel benefits. Simply put, the further you fly, the more miles you get.
Major airlines tend to have their own frequent flyer programmes and most, but not all, are part of one of the three major alliances - Oneworld, Star Alliance and Skyteam. By being a part of an alliance, airlines are able to offer more seamless travel and provide a larger route network, travelling to more destinations with its partner airlines. Alliances themselves can benefit frequent flyers because it allows them to collect air miles with any of the member airlines on one single account, which can then be spent on flights with any of the member airlines.
Using Air Miles Credit Cards
Air miles credit cards can enable you to collect air miles at a much faster rate. Instead of earning miles each time you fly, you can instead earn them every time you make a purchase on the card. A lot of the cards offer a sign up bonus which gives you additional points when you first take out or first spend on a card. Once you have collected enough air miles in the manner, you can use them to redeem on free flights, excluding taxes and fees.
Air miles credit cards are beneficial to use if you;
- Spend a lot on credit cards - with the more you spend equalling a greater total of points earned.
- Fly a lot - if you fly regularly, then air mile credit cards are a good consideration. However, if you don’t often fly, then there may well be better credit cards available to you, such as cashback cards.
- Flexibility as to when you travel - availability of flights is more restrictive when you redeem air miles as opposed to paying directly for them. Therefore, you plans will need to be flexible, and work around the flight availability on offer.
- Are going to pay off the balance in full every month - make sure you are able to pay off the balance in full each month, as these air mile card tend to not lend themselves well to being used in other ways.
To earn the maximum amount of air miles, it will help to;
- Use the card for all of your spending, such as everyday purchases, and be used instead of cash or debit cards.
- Ensure you pay off the balance spent each month, in full. The interest rates on the card will more than negate the travel benefits you earn.
- If you share your spending with someone, add another cardholder to your account, maximising the air miles earned.
- Try to redeem the miles on long-haul or business class flights, as the taxes and fees on short-haul, Europeran flights tend to be more than the price of a budget airline flight.
- Take advantage of promotions and bonus offers available on sign-up.
Take a look at our guide to the current Airline Credit Cards here.