As many of you know, we travel around Canada quite a bit, exploring the best things to do from coast to coast to coast. However, we also travel around the world as much as we can and have visited six continents, 38 countries, and over 250 cities over the last seven years. In fact, it’s our love for world travel that also led to our love for exploring Canada, as travelling around the world made us appreciate the incredible scenery, attractions, and culture of our home country.
For me, it all started with a solo trip to Australia, New Zealand, and Indonesia way back in 2009. Then, in 2012, I had the opportunity to do an exchange semester at a university in Malaysia. So, Karla and I travelled to Southeast Asia for an entire year, visiting Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, the Philippines, and China. Our passion for travel multiplied and we just didn’t want to stop. At the same time, we didn’t have the money to pay for a lot of trips, so I started learning about something called travel hacking, which inevitably led to the creation of CanadianFreeFlyers.com.
Travel hacking is basically learning how to maximize the earning of frequent flyer miles while redeeming them for world-class trips. Over the last six years, I’ve earned over 2,000,000 points and have experienced a wide variety of flights including Emirates First Class, which comes with a private suite, an onboard shower, a 27-inch TV screen, and unlimited Dom Perignon champagne. Needless to say, all of these experiences were incredible and would have been impossible without points. I then started telling my family and friends how to do it, and after watching them succeed, I created Canadian Free Flyers, a site where I teach Canadians how to earn hundreds of thousands of frequent flyer miles and how to use them for free flights around the world.
There are many ways to earn miles but one of the best ways to do it is by getting credit cards and using them for everyday spending. My favourite travel points are American Express Rewards because they can be transferred to a wide variety of airlines, including Air Canada’s Aeroplan. If you’re up for trying out an AMEX card, one of the cards I always recommend starting off with is the American Express Personal Gold card, which comes with 25,000 points after spending just $1,500 within the first three months. That’s enough for a round-trip flight within Canada or the continental USA. However, even if you’re not into travel points, there are so many other types of credit cards as well. The best way to find out about the best credit cards for you is to compare them with in-depth reviews of credit cards.
Once you’ve figured out the type of points you want to earn and the credit cards you want to have, the next step is creating a travel goal and learning the best ways of maximizing the redemption of your points. The last thing you want to do is redeem all your points for a crappy flight with high taxes. There are all kinds of ways to maximize points, including free stopovers, open-jaws, or using them for business class and first-class flights. Not all points are created equal, so it’s best to sign up for my travel hacking course or research some of the best methods for redeeming the points you have. There is a lot of information out there so it’s a good idea to know where you want to go and what points you want to use to get you there.
Make it a Priority: One of the most important things that helped me become a travel hacker was prioritizing. It sounds really simple but until I made earning points a priority, it would take me years just to earn enough for a short-haul flight. Once I learned how to earn the points and then prioritized it with all my spending, that’s when my points balance exploded!
Use Credit Cards: The next important step is utilizing credit cards to earn points on everyday spending. As long as you pay off your balance in full each month and use the cards to buy only what you need, credit cards are a great way to leverage yourself to more flights and more travel.
Maximize Your Redemption: Once you have the points, don’t waste them. Generally speaking, the shorter the flight, the worse the value is. This is not always the case but it’s a general rule of thumb. Flying to further destinations or more difficult locations, or adding in a free stopover or an open-jaw will greatly increase the value of your points. In addition, flying in business class will also give you much more value compared to the economy.
I hope you learned something in this short introduction to travel hacking.
Have you ever used points for a trip?
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