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 return||50,000 Alaska||$5,000||paid for economy plus to fly with friend over|
|Thailand return||70,000 United||$5,000||paid for economy plus to fly with friend over|
|Thailand Hotel||3 Free Hyatt Nights||$900||Earned with old signup bonuses|
|Greece r/t||70,000 United, 70,000 Delta||$9,000||Flew United over, Delta back|
|Dubai from LAX||140,000 Alaska||$12,000||2 people|
|Egypt - London||47,000 British Airways||$1,700||2 people - transferred points from Amex|
|London-home||114,000 American||$9,000||2 people|
|London r/t||128,00 Delta/American||$6,000||Delta over, American back|
|Vietnam r/t||150,000 Thank You points||$16,000||Flew EVA airlines|
|Hotel Vietnam||Week Marriott certificate||$2,800|
|Hotel Hanoi||IHG free night||$320|
|London flight||70,000 American||$5,000||to London|
|From Copenhagen||70,000 United||$5,000||From Copenhagen to Denver|
|Istanbul hotel||3 free Ritz Carlton nights||$1,200||Signup Bonus nights|
|London-Istanbul r/t||84,000 Life Miles||$2,000||2 people|
|Santiago, Chile r/t||70,00 United; 70,000 Delta||$9,000|
|Maui Hotel||3 nights Ritz Carlton anniversary nights||$3000|
|Maui Hotel||1 night Wailea Beach resort -anniversary night||$550|
|Maui Flights Business||40,000 Alaska, 65,000 Delta||$1700|
|Flight to Barcelona Business||43,000 Iberia||$7000|
|London to Denver||58,000 American||$10,600|
|1 week in Marriott Haciend Belen hotel Costa Rica||Week 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.
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!
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