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Cards for Travel Hacking?

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KatapoltKatapolt Forumite
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In the next few months im going to need to put a large purchase on a credit card, and as i am also going to be planning a honeymoon i wondered if there was a best card to look into to give me something back i could use for the honeymoon?

I've heard the phrase "travel hacking" quite a lot in reference to getting points and things back but it all seems to be american references.

Any tips are hugely appreciated!

Replies

  • zx81zx81 Forumite
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    It's just a phrase used by idiots that simply means 'tips'.

    Try an eligibility checker to see what you might be eligible for. You may as well earn something from your spend if you can.
  • edited 16 May 2019 at 8:49PM
    Ben8282Ben8282
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    edited 16 May 2019 at 8:49PM
    Never heard of 'travel hacking'. Seems a very odd term to me. Have since googled it and was not impressed by what I read. Sure, if you are the sort of person who flies longhaul First or Business class every month or spends massively you may get somewhere, but otherwise it will be an uphill struggle over a long period of time to get anything really worthwhile.
    There are so many possibilities.
    You really need to define 'large purchase' as this could mean different things to different people.
    As for the honeymoon, are you saying that you want a card to pay for the honeymoon or to use while abroad on the honeymoon? (Don't imagine that you can 'travel hack' to pay for your honeymoon!)
    You could consider any or a combination of the following.
    A 0% purchases card so that you can pay for the large purchase (and the honeymoon) over time without paying interest.
    A travel card so that you can spend and/or withdraw cash abroad without paying foreign transaction and/or ATM withdrawal fees.
    Some form of cashback or rewards card although you would need to spend a LOT in order to really make this worth your while. Remember a typical 0.5% cashback card will only get you 50p cashback per £100 spent
  • The_UrbaniteThe_Urbanite Forumite
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    Ben8282 wrote: »
    Never heard of 'travel hacking'. Seems a very odd term to me. Have since googled it and was not impressed by what I read. Sure, if you are the sort of person who flies longhaul First or Business class every month or spends massively you may get somewhere, but otherwise it will be an uphill struggle over a long period of time to get anything really worthwhile.

    This is a pretty good way of summing it up. Whatever people call the hobby, I'm into it. I just refer to it as points collecting.

    The game is more like a way of life. Small things that can be done to generate points are ingrained in daily routine. Some things have to be done weekly, or monthly. I don't really see it as a huge amount of effort any more, it's just business as usual. But I am conscious that some of the population see even going through TopCashBack or entering a promo code to get better value is far too much effort so I don't really try to explain what I do to people.

    The result is being able to take several nice holidays a year, stay in decent hotels for free and fly in business or First Class long haul for less than the cash rate that people pay for economy. It's not for everyone, but if you have a natural inclination towards extracting value then it might be worth looking into.
  • Ben8282Ben8282
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    But I am conscious that some of the population see even going through TopCashBack or entering a promo code to get better value is far too much effort so I don't really try to explain what I do to people.

    The result is being able to take several nice holidays a year, stay in decent hotels for free and fly in business or First Class long haul for less than the cash rate that people pay for economy. .
    What is written in paragraph 1 will not result in what is written in paragraph 2 except in your dreams.
  • The_UrbaniteThe_Urbanite Forumite
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    Ben8282 wrote: »
    What is written in paragraph 1 will not result in what is written in paragraph 2 except in your dreams.

    Thanks for proving the point that some people just don't get it :)
  • edited 18 May 2019 at 11:50PM
    The_UrbaniteThe_Urbanite Forumite
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    edited 18 May 2019 at 11:50PM
    Katapolt wrote: »
    In the next few months im going to need to put a large purchase on a credit card, and as i am also going to be planning a honeymoon i wondered if there was a best card to look into to give me something back i could use for the honeymoon?

    I've heard the phrase "travel hacking" quite a lot in reference to getting points and things back but it all seems to be american references.

    Any tips are hugely appreciated!

    A big purchase is a start, but realistically to do the kind of things those "travel hackers" are doing using credit cards, you need to be putting quite a lot of spend through those cards - to the order of 6 figures a year, or a quarter if you can manage it, to get a decent long haul redemption and hotel accommodation any time soon.

    The credit card routes are more of a thing in the USA, where you get oodles of points for getting a new card and spending a few thousand dollars in a short space of time. In the UK, you get a fraction of the points US consumers do, yet you pay the same amount of points to redeem against flights. Credit card points earning opportunities have been watered down in the UK thanks to regulatory rules and these have also impacted on big points giveaways through sign up bonuses and referral bonuses.

    Some of the people running these blogs sell the dream of "hacking" premium travel, but you need to be a big spender and/or a pretty hardcore value seeker to actually make it work. What you don't necessarily see is exactly what they are doing to get all the points they accrue.

    To play the credit card game, you need to be financially solvent and be proficient with money management. If you are putting the honeymoon on a credit card in order to spread out the payments over time, think twice about a card that gives you rewards. This is because the interest you pay will far outweigh the value of any points you accrue. You will be better off paying on a 0% purchases card and saving the interest you'd otherwise be paying. I didn't rule out rewards cards completely because some also have 0% periods, like the American Express Rewards card.

    Consider which schemes you want to collect in. In the UK, Avios (for British Airways) and Virgin Flying Club points are probably the easiest to collect with credit cards. For hotels, maybe Hilton and IHG. Tesco Clubcard is worth having and also consider American Express Membership Rewards and Mariott Rewards. If you have the spending power alluded to earlier, those last two can be used to generate the points needed to redeem in some of the nicest airline cabins in the world.

    If you pay for your travel and accommodation with points, you have to consider the value of the redemptions. The biggest snag is availability - seats and rooms might be free but you might not be able to use your points to pay for them. Then there are redemptions that trash the value of your points, like flying long haul from the UK in economy. However you may unexpectedly find they come in very useful indeed on alliance partner airlines on flights that take place outside of Europe. So they are useful to have, but not sure what value, if any they will bring to your honeymoon, as a prospective new entrant to the game truthfully.

    In response to your question on cards, have a look at the American Express website. Assuming the places you make your purchases accept it, you might find you get a lump of points for nothing - https://www.americanexpress.com/uk/credit-cards/all-cards/?inav=gb_menu_cards_pc_view_cm

    Ultimately, this is all a very long term hobby and if you want something back for your honeymoon, maybe look at a cashback card instead. And check two things - how long it takes to get your cashback and in what form it will be paid!
  • zagubovzagubov Forumite
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    I don't want to disappoint you but I collected every airmile I could for decades, but I only have a normal job and it honestly takes more like decades rather than years to buy a pair of flights.

    Maybe look at other ways of getting cheap flights as well.
    e.g https://www.secretflying.com/
    and so on.
    There is no honour to be had in not knowing a thing that can be known - Danny Baker
  • edited 26 May 2019 at 4:36AM
    guesswho2000guesswho2000 Forumite
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    edited 26 May 2019 at 4:36AM
    Thanks for proving the point that some people just don't get it :)

    Exactly :rotfl:

    Tbh this is good, if it was easy, everyone would do it, and the whole thing wouldn’t be a thing.

    To the OP’s point, there’s more to it that justusing a specific card to pay for a big purchase. Your normal spending, and big purchases, combined with signup bonuses, are a start, but won’t get you around the world in First Class within a few months, if that’s your aim.

    There are ways to make it work out, but you won’t find them discussed openly...think along the lines of killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

    http://www.instagram.com/alaskatoaustralia/
  • The_UrbaniteThe_Urbanite Forumite
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    zagubov wrote: »
    I don't want to disappoint you but I collected every airmile I could for decades, but I only have a normal job and it honestly takes more like decades rather than years to buy a pair of flights.

    Maybe look at other ways of getting cheap flights as well.
    e.g https://www.secretflying.com/
    and so on.

    I started points collecting when I was at university and clocked on what you've stated pretty much instantly. To rack up the points without being a cash paying frequent flyer, you need to find ways to game the system and generate points outside of normal spend and the odd promo.
  • edited 27 May 2019 at 11:38AM
    The_UrbaniteThe_Urbanite Forumite
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    edited 27 May 2019 at 11:38AM
    Exactly :rotfl:

    Tbh this is good, if it was easy, everyone would do it, and the whole thing wouldn’t be a thing.

    To the OP’s point, there’s more to it that justusing a specific card to pay for a big purchase. Your normal spending, and big purchases, combined with signup bonuses, are a start, but won’t get you around the world in First Class within a few months, if that’s your aim.

    There are ways to make it work out, but you won’t find them discussed openly...think along the lines of killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

    http://www.instagram.com/alaskatoaustralia/

    It's harder to make it work here in the UK than the US. A lot of people were stacking lumps of bonus points from referrals and sign up bonuses, both of which have been severely curtailed in recent weeks!

    There is a much smaller core of people who continually rack up points with credit card spend. Rewarding and does allow you to fly in F every few months if so desired, but requires infrastructure to set up and fraught with operational risk! UK financial institutions don't seem to be used to it and you either find yourself bombarded with offers to join wealth management services and have all sorts of incentives thrown at you from all directions, or have financial reviews carried out on your activity and have a plausible explanation as to how you are managing to spend 20x your gross annual salary every year!
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