Travel Hacking Update #1

travel hacking

A few months back I gave an intro of what travel hacking was and the steps I was taking to learn all about it. I’ve now been at it for about 4 months and wanted to update you on how it’s been going.

My wife and I have applied for 4 total cards, 2 for each of us:

We met the minimum spending requirements for all 4 cards and came away with thousands of points with relative ease.

My wife ended up with:

  • 60,000 points for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card
  • 10,000 for referring me to the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card
  • 50,000 points for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card

= 120,000 Rapid Rewards points

The best part about this is that she was able to unlock the Southwest Companion Pass, meaning she can bring me for free on ANY Southwest flight she takes for the rest of this calendar year and all of 2018! This is unlocked either by taking 100 one-way Southwest flights in one calendar year (never going to happen) or by accumulating 110,000 Rapid Rewards points in one calendar year. By earning the two sign-up bonuses for the Southwest credit cards, she was able to unlock the Companion Pass. We’ll be using it for the first time in a few weeks, and have started discussing our next few destinations we’d like to go.

I ended up with:

  • 40,000 Rapid Rewards points for the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus card
  • 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is widely considered to be the best travel rewards credit card out there today. The best part about the card is that all Chase Ultimate Rewards points are extremely flexible. These points can be transferred to 11 different airline and hotel chains to be redeemed.

What’s Next?

I’m still figuring that part out as we take a brief breather. We’ll almost certainly sign up for a Chase Sapphire Preferred card for my wife. After that I’m still doing a bit more research to decide on which credit cards will be next. Chase has a rule where you can only sign up for 5 credit cards in a 24 month period (referred to as the 5/24 rule), so it’s best to start with Chase branded cards first.

We’re really enjoying planning out where we want to go next, possiblities for using the Southwest Companion Pass include Denver, Portland, Dallas, Boston, Washington DC, Cabo, and more. I’d love to use our Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a trip to Italy.

Is it Worth it?

Another question I see asked a lot, is pursuing travel rewards worth it? As I mentioned in my previous post, I was a bit skeptical at first, but now that I’ve learned more about it I’m fully confident it’s worth it. The credit card applications are quick, and all we do is switch over our recurring bills to the new card we’re working on and switch to using it to pay for everything. Since our spending isn’t very high, we focus on one signup bonus at a time.

As long as you stay organized and avoid carrying a balance, it’s not all that complicated or time consuming. We’ve easily earned points that are worth an equivalent to hundreds of dollars in free travel.

For more information about travel hacking and earning credit card rewards, check out my first post about the topic and the free Travel Miles 101 email course.

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This post contains some affiliate links, this means that if you sign up for one of the services I may receive a small commission, but the cost is still completely free for you. At Spills Spot, my readers come first, and I pledge to only recommend products and services that I use myself or have researched thoroughly to verify their usefulness.

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