There’s three things you need to know about me:
- I love travelling
- I hate spending money
- My favourite game show of all time is ITV’s The Chase.
The last one isn’t really important to this particular post, but is something I very dearly miss watching from my time living in the United Kingdom.
Obviously, loving travel and hating spending money doesn’t really go together. Flights and hotels are really expensive, and unless you want to fly on airlines like Ryanair and sleep in crowded hostels with that one person who always snores with the noise of a rocket launch, there’s really no way around it.
Or is there?
Allow me to introduce you to the world of points and miles, and the power to travel for (almost) free.
While the world of points and miles might not be new to you, it was something I stumbled apon and delved into in the last year or so while day dreaming of everywhere I’d rather be than sitting in my university lectures. I had always been aware of airline loyalty programs like Air Canada’s Aeroplan, but thought that the only way to earn points was to to actually fly with them.
Then I discovered that banks gave out co-branded travel credit cards, and found one that meant I could earn Aeroplan points on my everyday purchases with the card. Even better, I could earn 10,000 points as a welcome bonus just for signing up and making my first purchase. Aeroplan points can be valued anywhere from 1-2 cents per point or higher, meaning that 10,000 points could be worth $200 or more. As an example, a round trip flight from Toronto to New York City with Air Canada can be redeemed for as low as 4,500 points each way, meaning that signing up for this one card could get me a free trip to the big apple. Yes please.
I was driving to and from Algonquin Provincial Park for work the summer I got my first travel credit card, and used it for all my gas and food purchases. By the end of the year, I had accrued enough points to book a free flight from Toronto to Bathurst, New Brunswick via Montreal to visit a friend’s cottage for the week – a flight that was retailing for over $600 at the time I was booking.
This was an eye opener for me. There was no way I could justify spending that much money on a one way domestic flight on a student’s budget, especially considering it would be cheaper to drive the 16 hours at that price. The world of points and miles allowed me to take a trip I otherwise would not have done. Since then, I’ve continued to accrue more points, and have upgraded to a better credit card that will in essence, allow me to take a free round trip flight anywhere in North America every single year, just for putting all of my everyday spending on credit cards that I would have been spending anyways. In fact, later this year I’m exploring the idea of travelling to San Fransisco, California and Banff National Park, both of which I would be able to fly to and from for free with the points I have collected.
There’s a lot more to the world of points and miles, and not all of it revolves around free flights and signing up for credit cards. Points and miles can get you free hotel stays, access to airport lounges, upgraded fares and much more. I’m no expert on any of this, and have just barely scratched the surface of what’s possible. There are a ton of resources online for you to learn more about the world of points and miles, and how you can get the most out of it, but my favourite, and where I’ve learned the most is from a website and newsletter called Daily Drop. They’ve posted a ton of articles with valuable information to get you started, and send out a daily newsletter to keep you up to date with all the current happenings in the world of miles and points. There’s also a Facebook group for discussions, questions, and livestreamed events that help you maximize the value of your points. I’m talking $10,000+ First Class seats for FREE type of value.
No, this isn’t sponsored, I just wanted to share a resource that helped me wrap my head around this sometimes complex topic, and will allow me to travel more, and spend less. Of course, there are tons of guides and websites out there for you to check out that will help you learn more about points and miles – Daily Drop is just my favourite.
Having the freedom to travel more for less is always a good thing, and if I’ve sparked your interest, I encourage you to learn more about travel hacking and the world of points and miles.
I’m definitely glad I did.
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