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Travel Hacking has saved us tens of thousands of dollars over the years. Sometimes these are smaller victories like earning $100 from opening an Invest Account. And others are much larger like my last flight to Japan in First Class that should have cost me $12,822.70. By using Travel Hacking I only paid $267.13!
I’ve utilized all of the Travel Hacks below in 2019 and believe that these will continue to provide tremendous value in 2020. I hope that they can help provide you with motivation and inspiration to meet me in the sky!
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Here are the Top 7 Travel Hacks We Used in 2019
1 – Southwest Companion Pass
I cannot say enough about how amazing the Southwest Companion Pass has been for us over the years. This Travel Hack allows the pass owner to add a companion to any flight for up to two full years! For example, if I book a flight on Southwest from Buffalo NY to Aruba, I can add Lisa as my companion for FREE. The best part is that it even works when I use POINTS to PAY for my flight!
Learn more about earning the Southwest Companion Pass in 2020 HERE!
2 – Hotel Annual Free Night Certificates
Many Hotel Branded Credit Cards come with annual FREE Night Certificates. Now, to be completely upfront, you’re technically paying the annual fee for the certificate. How is that a Travel Hack then? Annual Fees often cost around $100 for many Hotel Credit Cards. It’s possible to double or triple the value back when redeeming. This makes it a great Travel Hack. I used a few of these last year to run the Chicago Marathon and Washington DC Cherry Blossom 10k. For both of these weekends, hotel prices were sky high! My Favorite Hotel Win from 2019 was in Japan when we combined our Hilton and Marriott certificates to save $3,487.
Check out our Top Hotel Credit Card Offers HERE
Earn 80,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, you can earn an additional 50,000 Hilton Honors Points after you spend a total of $5,00 in purchases on the card in the first 6 months. No annual fee. (Rates & Fees). Terms Apply.
Learn More Here.
3 – Airport Lounges
It’s crazy to see how much money food and beverage costs in airports! By utilizing Airport Lounges when traveling, it’s possible to significantly cut those costs. The easiest way to gain access to an Airport Lounge is through a Priority Pass Membership. There are a handful of Credit Cards that include a Priority Pass membership as a benefit. One of my FAVORITE lounges out there is the Newly Opened Club at Buffalo. We were able to visit on opening day and have become regulars over the last 5 months!
Earn 75,000 membership rewards once you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 6 months from account opening. This is an amazing travel card with plenty of extra perks for those who travel often.
- Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on up to $15,000 in combined purchases at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, including our favorite Centurion Lounge access. (Such as Centurion Lounge DEN)
- Earn 5x MR points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
- $550 Annual Fee. (Rates & Fees)
- Terms Apply.
- Learn More Here.
Learn more about Airport Lounges HERE
4 – Status Matching
Using one elevated status to get freebies from another rewards program is one of my favorite Travel Hacks! This past year, I was able to use my Hilton Honors Diamond Status to match to Caesars Rewards Diamond. I earned a $100 Celebration Dinner Voucher, Two Free Show Tickets, and a Complimentary Four Night Stay at the Atlantis in the Bahamas from that Travel Hack. There are many options for Status Matching that come and go throughout the year. Sign up for our Email List and Join our Facebook Group to get in on the next one!
Learn More About how I Status Matched to a FREE Stay at the Atlantis Bahamas HERE
5 – United Excursionist Perk
This is one of the coolest Travel Hacks out there. When using United Airlines Miles to fly roundtrip, you can add a stopover in another country for FREE. In order to use the Excursionist Perk, the stopover must be in a different region from where the trip originates and ends. For example, we used the United Excursionist Perk to fly for FREE from Singapore to the Philippines. This trip started and ended in Japan, which is considered its own region. Both Singapore and the Phillippines are considered South Asia which is a different region than Japan. This is a fun Travel Hack to incorporate into your tool kit but does take some practice. The best part is that the Chase Sapphire and Chase Ink Credit Cards Ultimate Reward’s Points both Transfer to the United Airlines Program. This is an easy way to earn more miles towards an Excursionist Redemption!
You can find the Top Chase Offers HERE!
6 – Checking, Savings, and Investing Account Bonuses
Earning Cash Bonuses from opening different banking and investing accounts is an awesome Travel Hack! I love loading my Travel Fund with these bonuses throughout the year and watching the account grow. We typically choose to put this money towards a nice dinner while on vacation or a unique excursion. Most recently I used a portion of the $1,000 that I earned last Fall to pay for a Shark Scuba Diving Experience in the Bahamas! One of my favorite bonuses to earn right now is the SoFi Invest $100 FREE Stock.
Learn How to Get your FREE $100 Stock HERE
7 – Credit Card Signup Bonuses
There still is no better Travel Hack out there then accruing large portions of Points and Miles through Credit Card Signup Bonuses. We have been able to travel all over the World using Points and Miles while paying a fraction of the cost. For example, the Chase Ink Business Preferred Card Signup Bonus is worth $1,000 in Travel! The best part is that you can get even more value when transferring points to partners like shown above with the United Excursionist Perk. The key to earing sign up bonuses is to make a plan to meet the minimum spending requirement. To help, we have put together a whole LIST of things that you can pay for with your Credit Card!
Feel free to Reach Out To Us with any questions about which cards to open and how to get the best value from your points and miles. You’ll find our top Credit Card Offers of the Month HERE!
New to Travel Hacking? Check out the BASICS Below!
- Download our FREE Ultimate GUIDEBOOK To SUPER CHEAP Travel
- Basic Travel Hacking 101
- Travel Hacking 102
- Credit Scores 101
- Knowing the Rules
- 5/24 Status
- Top Credit Card Offers
- Earning Bonuses
- Expedited Airport Screening
- Cashback Sites
Disclosure: Basic Travel Couple, LLC has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Basic Travel Couple, LLC and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.
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