Genuine con travel hacking suggests that there is some type of catch and that there is something dishonest going on. This is how many people see travel hacking genuine con. They immediately think it’s too good to be true when they hear “free flights and hotel rooms.” Someone will suddenly emerge from behind the curtain, exclaim “gotcha!” while maniacally laughing, and then flee with all their money.
People generally believe that utilizing points and miles doesn’t truly work, that they are difficult to obtain, that you must do insane things to obtain them, or that you must spend a lot of money to get there:
“Collecting miles requires spending money. Let’s assume you need 80,000 miles for an award [flight] and can find a sign-up offer for 40,000. That means you probably have to spend $40,000 to collect the other 40,000 miles. Then to use hotel points for free rooms, assume you want a seven-day vacation and rooms are just 15,000 a night. That’s another 105,000 hotel points, and another $105,000 spend. Even if your hotel card gets two-for-one points, that’s still $52,500 in spend. So for me to go on a vacation for $1,000 I need to charge $92,500.”
Spending money is necessary to accrue miles. Let’s say you can discover a sign-up deal for 40,000 miles, but you need 80,000 miles for an award [flight]. That implies that the estimated cost of acquiring the additional 40,000 miles is $40,000. Then, supposing you desire a seven-day trip and hotels are just $15,000 per night, utilize hotel points to get free stays. That’s an additional $105,000 in spending and 105,000 additional hotel points. Even if your hotel card receives two points for every dollar spent, that still amounts to $52,500. Therefore, I need to charge $92,500 in order to travel for $1,000.
(For the categories without a card that offers more than 1 point per dollar spent, you can just use any card you prefer).
As you can see, there isn’t as much to remember as you would have thought.
When I need to buy something, I use airline shopping portals online to earn extra points (recently, I received 6x American Airlines miles for my Macy’s purchases in addition to my credit card points). investing in a new computer? I’m heading out to buy a new card to meet the spending requirement for the bonus. Have a few moments? I participate in surveys to get points.
Every dollar I spend results in numerous points being earned.
I don’t consider earning points or miles to be a “cost” because I don’t have to pay extra to do so. If I have to forgo money to obtain something, then it has a cost to me. However, you may earn points and miles for regular purchases that you would make otherwise.
If you reside in a location where earning points and miles is an option, you must do it if you want to travel more. Even if it takes you a year to earn enough points to matter, by dramatically cutting the cost of everything, they assist you in realizing your ambitions.
What about the costs, though?
There are taxes and costs associated with using points and miles to buy flights, but they are still less expensive than the cost of a full ticket. Additionally, since hotels don’t impose these fees, there is actually no cost associated with utilizing points. (Some credit cards also let you delete charges, thereby making those costs zero.)
People will then mention excessive credit card fees, which can occasionally total hundreds of dollars annually. Because the credit card companies are merely stealing your money, it must be a fraud.
Remember that premium credit cards have benefits and rates of point earning that offset the fees (if you use them). You’ll need to assess whether cards with higher fees are worthwhile for you.
For instance, I receive the following benefits from my $550 USD annual Chase Sapphire Reserve card:
- $300 USD in travel statement credit
- 3x points on travel and restaurants (so I can earn points faster)
- 10x points on Lyft
- Global Entry, TSA Precheck, or NEXUS ($100 USD every five years)
- Purchase protection so I can get refunded if things I buy are lost, damaged, or stolen
- A priority pass membership for lounge access (about $100 USD a year)
- Trip insurance
- Monthly statement credits for DoorDash, Instacart, GoPuff
Although the yearly charge of $550 first appears to be absurdly high, it is actually reduced to $250 when travel credits are taken into account (essentially wiping off $300 in spending that were shown as travel genuine con on my statements). I earn far more than $250 in points every year with this card, and the additional bonuses and advantages more than make up for it. When seen in this light, you—not the credit card companies—are the one becoming rich quick!
Also bear in mind that one of the most luxurious cards available is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Numerous alternative travel credit cards, including cards with no annual fees, are available to start with and have significantly lower annual rates. Finding the ideal card(s) that fit your travel needs and objectives is the key to travel hacking genuine con; you should use banks to your advantage rather than the other way around.
Consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which is a’starter’ version of the Reserve card, which is more expensive. In addition to other benefits, it only costs $95 a year and offers 2x points on travel, 3x points on eating, online grocery delivery, and sel2ect streaming services.
Or you could use the Bilt Rewards card, which has no annual charge and is the only one that allows you to earn points for renting a home as well as twice as many points for traveling.
I receive free nights from all of my hotel credit cards annually, plus my airline credit cards include free checked baggage, which saves me hundreds of dollars every year!
I now have more credit, less debt, a solid payment history, and as a result, my credit score has only increased. (And what use is a credit score if you don’t utilize it?, asks my pal Gary.)
Why then do not more people travel hack if it is such a nice thing to do?
Most folks simply shrug their shoulders and say, “I don’t know,” when I inquire as to why they don’t travel hack. I suppose it’s difficult.
People probably think that just because travel hacking genuine con appears difficult, it necessarily is.
Travel hacking also appears to go against everything we’ve learned about finance. Credit and money are taught to be thought of in one way:
Credit cards are not good. The businesses are poor. Never make a payment. You’ll never receive a loan since actions like this affect your score, which is sacrosanct.
But that’s just nonsense. I’m not sure who precisely is responsible for spreading this idea, but people continue to buy into it.
Not earning points and miles is like saying no to free money if you are responsible with your money and pay your payments on time each month. It is expressing the sentiment “I don’t want to be rewarded for my good spending habits.”
The finest word in travel is “free.”