Is Travel Hacking possible in India?
This question came to my mind a few years ago when I saw an online video of a guy flaunting what seemed like a bunch of 50 credit cards and mentioning that all he did was travel all over the world for free. Who doesn’t want to travel without burning a hole in one’s pocket. That video immediately got me interested in this subject and since then I’ve spent quite a bit of time to look up at this subject up and close from an Indian perspective.
The main myth to be busted is that to rack up a whole bunch of air miles you need to be flying very frequently. What I realized after my research was that the bulk of the points/miles racked up were through credit card spends rather than actual flights.
The overall concept of Travel hacking is thus simple and it involves taking advantage of all the signup and ongoing bonuses that Credit Card companies offer you in conjunction with Airlines/Hotels and other such partners so that you accumulate enough Frequent Flyer miles or Hotel loyalty points that will allow to Fly for Free, Stay for Free and perhaps both. And yes – you don’t have to be a Frequent Flyer or Frequent Stayer at Hotels to rack up those initial credit – although that does also help in the long run.
US is the number 1 destination for Travel Hacking as the options are tremendous. You can literally apply for one card after another every few months and keep doing that to rack up an insane amount of miles.
In India the options are comparatively limited but there is still a lot that once can do. One of they Key bedrocks for travel hacking in India atleast until March 2019 was the JP miles program (Jet privilege) linked to Jet Airways. This has now been significantly undervalued- but there are other options to work with. Vistara , Spicejet and Air India run airline loyalty programs and all the big hotel chains have their own programs. There are also a reasonable bunch of credit cards that will help you get kickstarted on this journey.
So I hope to share whatever I have learnt and hope you benefit from my experiences.
In my next post – I will highlight a very specific credit card apply and spend strategy that will get you a free 5 day stay at a Marriott hotel.