Travel Hacking? Sounds shady. I honestly don’t know how the term “travel hacking” came about, but it’s a little misleading. I am not some sort of hacker that gets into airlines’ and hotels’ computer systems. As you can probably tell by now, my computer skills are actually pretty sub-par (I’m learning more everyday though!). The term travel hacker basically just means that I earn miles and points in creative ways (but totally legal) and then find the best ways to redeem said miles and points. I prefer the term “award travel”.
Are there income tax implications? No. Although points can provide thousands in value, they are not considered income.
Doesn’t it ruin your credit? Not at all if you’re responsible. In fact, our credit scores are over 800 and we both have multiple open cards. It actually raises your score. As long as you pay off your balance in full every month, you will see that over time your score increases as you open more accounts. Having multiple credit cards means you have a higher total credit limit. Since you shouldn’t be carrying balances, your credit utilization ratio should be very low. Your score may drop initially because of the inquiry when first opening cards, but as long as you are not buying a house or making another large purchase such as a car in the near future, you don’t have to worry about this.
Doesn’t the interest negate any value that points provide? As long as you pay your balance off in full, you will not pay interest.
Doesn’t the annual fee negate any value that points provide? In most cases the sign-up bonus alone is worth more than the annual fee. Read more here: An Example of How Annual Fees Can Be Offset
What is the best card? There is no good answer to this because it is different for everyone based on individual travel goals. You can read about some of my favorites that are good to start with (and that I still use for most of my everyday spending) if you’re unsure here and here . You can then apply for others such as a specific airline as you figure out which points and miles best fit your needs.
This list will be updated as needed/requested!