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Yesterday, I wrote a post for beginners explaining how this travel hacking hobby works. The cool thing about the miles and points hobby is that you can put a little effort into it or a lot of effort into it, depending on your desire and your time available. This hobby doesn’t have to take over your life.
But, people who have certain traits tend to be more successful with travel hacking in the long run. Do you have some or all of these traits?
Juggling multiple credit cards and loyalty accounts requires some level of organization. Not only do you need to keep track of when you open a new card and the deadline for the minimum bonus spending, but you also have to remember to pay multiple credit cards on time each month.
Successful travel hackers know when to jump on a deal and just go for it. Sometimes, if you wait too long to sign up for a good bonus offer, the deal expires. This also happens with award availability on popular routes. As the old saying goes, “He who hesitates is lost.” A perfect example of this happened recently with the SimplyMiles promo when a few lucky people got a million+ AA miles.
The key to getting the best use out of miles and points is flexibility. Successful hackers search for award flights over a range of dates and even a range of destinations. It’s much more difficult to use miles and points when you’re stuck with fixed dates.
Being successful in this hobby requires a certain amount of determination and grit. Things don’t always go as planned. You may not find the perfect award redemption, or you may not get instantly approved for a credit card. You have to persevere and keep trying. I typically search for award availability for weeks before finding the right cost and schedule.
Appetite for Knowledge
Policies and information in the miles and points travel hacking world are constantly changing. There isn’t one instruction manual that never changes. Banks, airlines and hotels are constantly creating new rules and promos. In order to keep up, you have to read multiple sources. Even the industry experts learn from other bloggers and regular folks on reddit. I recommend subscribing to BoardingArea via email or Twitter and checking out MilesFeed.com to scan the headlines of multiple relevant blogs.
Of course, even experienced travel hackers don’t display these traits all the time. Nobody’s perfect! I’ve accidentally been late on payments, and I’ve missed out on good deals because I didn’t act quickly enough. But in general, having these traits is what it takes to be successful in this hobby.
Travel hackers, what traits would you add to this list?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.