Travel Hacking 101: How I get Cheap Plane Tickets and Extra Frequent Flier Miles

I’m a firm believer that getting out of my comfort zone is vital to my mental health, self-esteem and keeps me from getting too set in my ways. Those are all huge reasons why I love to travel as much as I do. 

Cheap plane tickets, travel perks and free upgrades are the icing on the cake and are made possible with a few smart moves when applying for and using credit cards. 

It has taken me a while to get the ins and out of the wild world of travel hacking, and I’ve still only scratched the surface!

Today, I just want to run through a few hot tips most people aren’t doing that really boost your points and miles accounts and go through the basics of ‘travel hacking’.

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. All recommendations and opinions are my own and I personally use each product.**

how to start travel hacking with points and miles
Best business credit card for travel
Apply for the Chase Ink Business Preferred card and receive a sign up bonus of 80,000 points ($800 cash value!). I too get extra points when you are approved.

I Started With Cash Back

I first got into credit cards with cash back from a Discover Card and I used that for years and years. The only thing I didn’t really like was that when I travelled overseas, hardly any other countries accepted it. 

When I heard the term “travel hacking” and started learning about the nuances, I got a Visa card that had travel specific perks. This came in handy when planning my trip to Africa, which I’ve blogged about here a lot.

I fell in love with getting sign up bonuses!

Lately, I’ve slowed my roll on those, however, with both personal and business spending, I was able to earn a sign up bonus in multiple ways.

It’s SO much fun!

Take a pal to Costa Rica on Airline Miles!

Southwest Airlines flight routes to Central America with Rewards points and miles

In the video, I talk about a very simple sign up bonus that I was able to use to take my friend to Costa Rica for her birthday! 

We ran through our Costa Rica road trip itinerary in this post right here.

The two of us flew Southwest to San Jose on just the sign up bonus, rented a car, stayed at AirBnBs and even enjoyed the Priority Pass club lounge in the airport prior to our flight (saving $ on food, drinks and wifi!).

Travel Hacking 101: cheap plane tickets and extra frequent flier miles

If you want to learn how to earn cheap plane tickets using credit card points and miles, the first step is to look at your normal, everyday spending. 

  • How much do you spend in a typical month?
  • Are you planning any large purchases this year?
  • What do you buy ALL the time and at what stores?
  • Do you have a big travel goal or do you just want cash back?
  • Is there anything you have always wanted to do, like fly first class internationally?

The simple and yet difficult thing to do is to sign up for a brand new card right before a big spending spree or purchase.

Harness that power!


The simple (and yet difficult) thing to do is to sign up for a brand new card RIGHT BEFORE a big spending spree or major purchase.
Southwest Airlines flight routes to Central America with Rewards points and miles
~ Heather

What perks does your credit card offer?

Credit card travel perks vary from card to card, and this is where you do a little recon to find the best one for you and your own lifestyle and goals. 

For me, I appreciate having trip insurance, being able to book flights right before I want to travel, having flexible flights for rescheduling and getting a discount on my plane tickets and more via my credit card.

Additional perks are wide ranging and another common one is collision insurance on a rental car!

What is your favorite credit card perk or travel hacking tip?? Share a story of what you’ve been able to do because of credit card points and miles…

join the conversation...

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