Five Top Tips for Staying Organized with Travel Hacking

One of our frequent questions from beginner travel hackers is, “How do I stay organized?” This worry about organization actually keeps people from enjoying this hobby and the wonderful free travel it offers. Don’t let organizational worry paralyze you. It is actually super easy to be an organized travel hacker. Here are our five top tips for staying organized with travel hacking.

 

1. Travel Freely

TravelFreely is an amazing FREE site to help you keep track of your credit cards. If you want to be an organized travel hacker then you need this!  The area they really excel at is keeping track of your Chase 5/24 status.  Since I am trying to get under 5/24, it is nice to know exactly when that will happen for myself and my husband. Travel Freely also keeps track of when it would be a good time to open another credit card and will even suggest credit cards that would be good for you to open based on the cards you already have. I also love that it sends me a reminder when I have an annual fee due in time for me to decide if I want to keep the card or get rid of it after the annual fee posts.

If I’ve opened up a new card, it reminds me of when I have to finish meeting my minimum spend or lose my bonus points. This is huge! It is an easy site to use.  Enter the name of the card and the date you opened it and let it do the rest! We have a whole post all about Travel Freely that you can check out!

Recently, Travel Freely came out with a mobile app! I have been using it for a few weeks and it is great! It makes it so easy to quickly check out my cards, 5/24 status, and see any annual fees that are coming up. I spend most of my time on my phone vs computer so having the mobile app has been so nice!

Travel freely homepage

Travel Freely website and mobile app homepage

 

 

2. AwardWallet

AwardWallet is another great free service that every travel hacker should use to stay organized. It keeps track of all of your points/miles in one place. If you have a variety of loyalty accounts it can be very helpful to view your points all at once. It also notifies you if your points are nearing their expiration date. Award Wallet is a free service but you can pay to upgrade to a premium version. As an organized travel hacker, I can’t even imagine NOT having this program. Having Award Wallet to keep track of all my points is huge and definitely makes our list of top tips for staying organized with travel hacking.

It is very simple to use.  Here’s how you use it:

  • One by one, add each credit card you and each family member have on the site
  • Include your login information for each credit card so they can track your points
  • They will track your points weekly and email you with your current total
  • There are a few cards they don’t have access too and you can manually enter their totals periodically
  • You will also receive info about upcoming flights
  • You can access your loyalty accounts on the site easily without having to remember numerous sign-ins and passwords. I love this feature.
  • The service is free for all of this!

In addition, you can upgrade to a paid version for only $30/yr. I have done this and am so glad I did! The upgrade gives you:

  • Expiration dates of all points and emails you when the dates are getting near. I have literally saved thousands of points with this feature. That email reminded me I needed to use a particular credit card I had put away so that my expiration date extended another year. Seriously, the upgrade is worth the whole program!
  • Other features but they pale to this point saving one!

 

 

4. Use CardPointers

Not meeting minimum spend on a card right now but want to know that you are using the card that will get you the most points for your purchase. No longer do you have to memorize which card to use for gas or groceries or put sticky notes on each card to let your spouse know. Download a free app called CardPointers and let it do the work for you.

For instance, I needed to get gas and wonder which card I should use. When I open my Cardpointers app, I see this:

 

screenshot of best gas station card

 

The cards I have are linked to let me know which is the best card I should use to get maximum points. In this instance, I would use my AMEX Platinum for 10x points at gas stations. Wow, that is an awesome redemption. If I didn’t have this app, I might use the wrong card and miss out on points. Thanks, Cardpointers for being one of our top tips for staying organized with our travel hacking!

 

 

4.  Phone Reminders, Email Notifications, and Automatic Payments

I have reminders for all the cards I currently use on my phone so I never forget to pay them off. The reminders are set to go off monthly and about 10 days before the bill is actually due. I find the phone reminders work well, and because I don’t use that many of my cards, it’s pretty easy to keep track of.

I also get an email sent to me when my statement closes for each card, a reminder 10 days before the bill is due, and an email confirmation when I pay the bill.  I like having this as a backup to my phone reminders.

Another great idea is to just make your payments automatically through your credit card company. I do this with several of my cards that I use less often and it works great. If you worry about forgetting and missing a payment then just set them all up for autopay right when you get them and don’t even worry about it!

 

 

5.  Don’t Use All Your Cards

There is a common misconception that because I have a lot of cards, I have all these credit card bills I need to pay off each month. I sign up for many of my cards strictly for the welcome bonus and don’t use them much after meeting the minimum spend. Because of this, most of my cards actually sit in a drawer. I get the card, use the card to meet the minimum spending requirement, and then tuck the card safely away.

If I am not working on a new card then I use one of my Ultimate Reward earning cards. Those are my go-to everyday cards. Using just a few cards makes it really easy to keep track of it all. My mom has more cards than me but still, many are tucked away in a sock drawer. This is a major player in our five top tips for staying organized with travel hacking.

 

 

Brown wallet with many credit cards

Don’t carry all your credit cards with you!

 

 

Bottom Line

Don’t overthink organization! Use our five top tips for staying organized with travel hacking! Get some really good apps like Travel Freely, Award Wallet, and CardPointers, and let them do the work for you. They can keep track of everything that is important to know. Then set up some reminders for payment dates or automatic payments and that’s it – you are organized!

Neat and tidy desk

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