Free Travel is Possible with Travel Hacking


When I first heard about travel hacking a few years ago, I would never have imagined how much free travel is possible!  Especially for me, a grandma who many would say would have a harder time learning new tricks!  But I have always been interested in learning and travel so travel hacking was the perfect fit for me since it promised free travel.  A few years ago I was a beginner travel hacker just like you trying to figure out how to do this from more complicated blogs.

Recently, I decided to look back on the trips I’ve made since I began and figure out how much they would have cost me if I’d paid for them.  One flight on Emirates from LAX to Dubai was $6,000 a person in business class!  I would NEVER have paid that of course so the amount I “saved” is relative.  However, even if I would never pay to sit in business class “normally”, it has become my norm through travel hacking!  International travel and long hours on a plane can be brutal,  but through this hobby, it is now enjoyable!

The trips I’ve taken in the last couple of years include:

Sometimes I traveled with a friend or a family and we stayed in AirBnB’s or split a hotel cost.  A couple of times I went on a group tour.  Always my travel to these places was in business class and I only paid taxes and fees.  A few times I used points for hotel stays too.

Here’s the spreadsheet I did:

China return50,000 Alaska$5,000paid for economy plus to fly with friend over
Thailand return70,000 United$5,000paid for economy plus to fly with friend over
Thailand Hotel3 Free Hyatt Nights$900Earned with old signup bonuses
Greece r/t70,000 United, 70,000 Delta$9,000Flew United over, Delta back
Dubai from LAX140,000 Alaska$12,0002 people
Egypt - London47,000 British Airways$1,7002 people - transferred points from Amex
London-home114,000 American$9,0002 people
London r/t128,00 Delta/American$6,000Delta over, American back
Vietnam r/t150,000 Thank You points$16,000Flew EVA airlines
Hotel VietnamWeek Marriott certificate$2,800
Hotel HanoiIHG free night$320
London flight70,000 American$5,000to London
From Copenhagen70,000 United$5,000From Copenhagen to Denver
Istanbul hotel3 free Ritz Carlton nights$1,200Signup Bonus nights
London-Istanbul r/t84,000 Life Miles$2,0002 people
Santiago, Chile r/t70,00 United; 70,000 Delta$9,000
Maui Hotel3 nights Ritz Carlton anniversary nights$3000
Maui Hotel1 night Wailea Beach resort -anniversary night$550
Maui Flights Business40,000 Alaska, 65,000 Delta$1700
Flight to Barcelona Business43,000 Iberia$7000
London to Denver58,000 American$10,600
1 week in Marriott Haciend Belen hotel Costa RicaWeek Marriott certificate$2800

Did you read my total right?  It would have cost me over $110,000!!  Like I would have ever paid that much! I only paid taxes and fees and had some of the best experiences. I spent about 1.5 million and several free nights for all this fun!

You may wonder how I got so many United miles.  Up until a year ago, there were SPG points.  SPG merged with Marriott but before then my husband and I each had about every card both hotel groups offered.  Prior to the merge, you could use those points for Marriott’s Travel Package program (not as good of a deal now).  I was able to buy a week certificate at a Marriott and get 132,000 United Miles for 330,000 Marriott pts. I did this 3 times and had a TON of United points.

Bottom Line

If you haven’t thought that free travel was possible,  I hope I have shown you that travel hacking is real and DEFINITELY worth the effort.  Never, ever would I have had these travels and experiences without the things I’ve learned the last two years as a travel hacker.  What’s holding you back?  If I can have these experiences then you can too!  We are here to help the beginner learn how to travel hack – let us know how we can help YOU!

Cinque Terre, Italy

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