A new interest of mine is travel hacking which is "the art of collecting frequent flier points and miles to get free flights, hotels, tours, and more." And a major part of that is getting into the Credit Card Rewards/Point game. For many years it intimidated me. I struggled with credit card debt in my early twenties, and before we were able to save up enough for our surrogacy journey we worked hard to pay off everything and I never wanted to get into that situation again. Travel hacking is only recommended for those that have their credit under control and pay off balances each month. And those with excellent credit will have access to much better cards.
Eventually we did get the American Express Blue Cash Preferred card which offers 6% back at Supermarkets, 3% at gas stations and big chain stores, and 1% on all other purchases. There is a $95 annual fee, but I've found the benefits and cashback far outweigh that fee. We personally got over $700 in cash back last year. This was the only credit card we had for many years...
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This year we're traveling to Italy, and this card has foreign transaction fees, which I wanted to avoid. In a travel group I'm in (Bebe Voyage) credit cards came up and I dove head first into researching and joining groups and websites to gain more information and options.
The Points Guy is THE source on credit card points and travel hacking. His Beginner's Guide is a MUST READ.
I also joined a facebook group which almost strictly talks in acronyms and talks about glamorous frequent travel I can only dream about. But its been extremely helpful.
The key points to be successful in Travel Hacking:
THE card on the market right now is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. They were recently running a promotion that offered 100,000 points sign on bonus, but it was in branch only, and the closest branch to me was over 3 hours away... with only a few days notice this was just not feasible for me. Online it is still offering 50,000 points which is still the best on the market. It offers 2x points for travel and dinning, 1 point per $1 spent otherwise. Other benefits include no foreign transaction fees, and access to varies airport lounges and travel perks. They have a strict 5/24 rule (meaning that they won't approve you for a card if you've opened more than five cards in the past 24 months). I am hoping (based on research) they reinstate the 100k points offer and we'll apply then, since we're no where near the 5/24 limit.
So we ended up going with the Capitol One Venture Card. Which is also a highly recommended card. It came with a 40,000 point sign on bonus, and we'll "Earn unlimited 2X miles—that's 2 miles for every dollar you spend on purchases. 100 miles is equal to $1 in travel rewards." The annual fee is low at $59, and it has no foreign transaction fees. And bonus... its a METAL Card... I feel so fancy!
So not a travel rewards card, but if you don't already have a Target REDCard, what are you waiting for? You automatically get 5% off all Target purchase, free shipping on target.com orders, and an extra 30 days for returns (no receipts needed!).
In addition to Travel Hacking, there are several websites that will alert you to flights/vacation deals you can't pass up, even those "flight error fares" where you can snag rock bottom prices.
scottscheapflights.com, thriftytraveler.com, travelzoo.com,
Also anytime you fly, sign up for that airlines Frequent Flyer programs, which are generally free. If anything happens during your flight, delays, no WiFi, etc, you can tweet at or email the airline and most will offer some voucher or incentive... they add up!
Armed with all of this information I really hope to travel more. Deciding to be One and Done was in part due to our love of travel and I want Bram to catch the travel bug early.
Now that our triangle family is complete, follow along as we live our "life after infertility." Our travels, our joys, our laughter & our sorrows of parenting.
Chrissy is a...
full time corporate world working somewhat crunchy mom, a loving wife, an MRKH Warrior, Infertility Advocate, support group leader & a bad ass breastfeeder. In her fleeting spare time she enjoys hiking, traveling, walking her pooch, sewing and watching funny or sappy TV shows.