Travel Hacking Misconceptions


Travel hacking misconceptions—everyone has them, and we hear about them daily. In an effort to teach and dispel these misconceptions, let’s go over some of them.


People Who Travel Hack are in Big Debt

This could be true for some people who can’t control their spending. It certainly isn’t true for us. We use our credit cards for normal, everyday spending and pay our bills in-full each month. This is what we teach other people, too. Don’t go into debt! That defeats the purpose of nearly free travel. Remember, pay your cards off each month, or travel isn’t free—that is our motto.


Travel Hacking Ruins Your Credit Score

Before I started travel hacking, my credit score was in the high 700s. Six years and countless credit card applications later, my credit score is in the mid-800s. Most of the things that affect your credit score are things you have total control over. Pay your bill off every month (in-full and on-time), and you will be fine. Don’t do that, and you will see your credit score suffer.


You Have to Spend Tons and Tons of Money to Earn a Lot of Points

This is one we hear a lot. We will share about a trip and how we used points for it or how we have millions of points, and people automatically assume that we must spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to earn those points. In reality, we just put all our everyday spending on credit cards (groceries, gas, bills, etc.) and take advantage of those credit card welcome offers. Those welcome offers are where we earn a huge chunk of our points.


Travel Hacking Takes Too Much Time

Travel hacking indeed takes a little time. You have to apply for cards. You have to arrange to pay your bills with the credit card you are trying to meet the minimum spend on. Knowing your 5/24 status is important, and you need to make sure you get your sign-up bonuses.

Being able to travel for nearly free is worth the time. You can spend more time working overtime to save for travel, or you can spend a couple of hours a month on a new hobby with great dividends. Additionally, if you set up the Travel Freely app, you will decrease the time spent on your new points/miles hobby.

Never, ever have I said (as I settle into my business class seat to Europe or Asia), “This sure wasn’t worth the time I spent to earn these points!” Saving thousands of dollars on amazing vacations is worth it every time!


points and miles emirates flights

My husband is so glad I spend some time on my travel hacking hobby when he gets to fly business class!

I’ll Get One Card and Successfully Travel Hack

While it is true that you can definitely travel hack with just one credit card, you won’t be able to do it very often. We hear from many of you who plan to get a card, collect the bonus, and then use that one card for all your spending. That works, but to get nearly free vacations year after year, you need to branch out from that one credit card. Truthfully, between you and your spouse, you should open 3-4 a year.

We have earned millions of points by opening a card, meeting minimum spend, collecting a bonus, and then doing it again with a different credit card. Currently, my husband and I have over 25 credit cards. I only carry a few in my wallet, and the rest are in a “sock drawer.” It is through those multiple signup bonuses that we have earned millions of points, enabling us to travel at any time. Obviously, you may not want as many cards as we do, but you will want to get a few a year to travel often for free or nearly free.


Brown wallet with many credit cards

You’ll get more points when you sign up for more cards!

Avoid Paying Annual Fees

A huge travel hacking misconception is that annual fees are bad. They aren’t. It is often absolutely worth paying an annual fee the first year that you get the big sign-up bonus. Paying $95 for over $750 worth of travel is something most people would find a great deal. Keeping those cards the next year is often good, too, if the benefits are worth it. If not, then you can look into downgrading or canceling your credit card.

To travel hack and get several trips a year for nearly free, one must overcome the fear of an annual fee. Read this article to learn more.


Two women with arms on side of pool

Paying the annual fee on my Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant got me a free night at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota.

You Have to Be Super Smart to Travel Hack

Anyone can travel hack. Anyone. If you love to travel and want to save money, you can learn to travel hack. I am a grandmother and 70 years old. 😩  If I can do it, you can do it.

Alex is a busy, busy mom of 4 boys who keep her hopping. If she has the time and energy to travel hack, so do you.

Jess was a full-time lawyer with a child at home and found the time to travel hack. If she could, you can too.

Start small. Get that first card, collect your bonus, and then get another card. We are absolutely here for you to ask us questions, give you suggestions for new cards, and consult with you if needed. Most importantly, we have an awesome course that costs less than a domestic flight. It will save you thousands of dollars in return and teaches you most of our tricks all in one place. If you REALLY want to learn the basics quickly, our course bundle will be your best investment. We all wish we had a course like ours when we first started our journeys!


Bottom Line

There are tons of travel hacking misconceptions. Don’t fall for them. Alex, Jess, and I were all beginners years ago, and we have been extremely successful in traveling for nearly free and saving hundreds of thousands of dollars on amazing travel. We taught ourselves about it, and we are just ordinary moms who learned not to fall for travel hacking misconceptions, and to trust the process, and it works!! We can’t wait to see where you will be in a few years and the amazing travel you can make happen!


surfboard standing in sand near ocean

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