Travel Hacking in the UK – What is Travel Hacking?
Travel Hacking is the name given to the art of travelling for free (or close to free) by using reward schemes, credit cards, airline miles and other offers. The points earned through these various schemes are used to pay for flights, hotels and upgrades. Travel Hacking in the UK works best when you have a system in place earning you rewards or points for everything you do from paying your household bills to your weekly shop.
I have been collecting Avios for a few years now and would like to share some things I have learned. Travel Hacking in the UK is not as easy as for our cousins across the pond who have travel offers and incentives up to their eyeballs. But IT IS still possible for those of us in the UK.
Travel Hacking in the UK – Which scheme should I sign up to?
There are a few options for people in the UK looking for a travel reward scheme. Nectar points can be used to book holidays on Expedia and Expedia have even set up their own reward scheme called Expedia+ but the reward scheme that I focus on, and think you should too, is the Avios point system.
There are a few reasons for focusing on Avios point collection if you are looking at Travel Hacking in the UK. These are:
- Avios is a scheme mainly focused on travel
- Points can be earned without spending (more on this later)
- Established scheme and easy to get started with some good intro offers.
Travel Hacking in the UK – Where to start
The obvious, and best, place to start is by signing up for an Avios account. When you first sign up you will be able to get some really easy points by sharing stuff on Facebook and Twitter.
Once you have an Avios account, you should sign up to E-rewards and Rewards For Thoughts. These are survey companies that are not available to join without invitations but, as a member of the Avios scheme, you will be able to join. These sites give you a large bonus for signing up and completing your first survey. Even if you don’t continue after the first survey, it is worth the effort for the initial points bonus.
Introductory offers are all well and good but collecting points on daily spends is the real meat and gravy of Travel Hacking. This is where you will earn points just by going about your daily life.
Firstly, don’t do this if you have a bad credit rating or if you will not be able to pay off your balance.
Get yourself a British Airways Credit Card. This card gives you Avios for every point that you spend. Just use it on your day to day spending, pay it off asap and get points racking up. Even better, if you spend £500 on the card in the first three months of signing up, you will receive 4000 Avios!
The Tesco Clubcard needs no introduction but what you may not know about it is that clubcard vouchers can be turned into Avios. The current rate means that about £20 of Tesco vouchers can be turned into 4800 Avios (enough for a flight to Paris)!
Some energy and telephone providers in the UK offer Avios as a rewards for paying bills. Again this is money that you have to spend anyway so why not get something back! For a full list of companies that offer this incentive see the Avios Website.
The Avios E-store allows you to gain points from shopping online with lots of different companies. Businesses as varied as Dominos Pizza and Asos are signed up for the scheme so next time you are shopping online, check the Avios E-store to see if you could gain yourself some points at the same time.
Travel Hacking in the UK – A Final Thought
Travel Hacking in the UK is very possible and very real. The reason it exists is because the market for credit cards and supermarkets are so competitive that companies are willing to offer decent incentives in order to lure new customers; you can and should take advantage. A word of warning is to take what you read about American travel hackers with a pinch of salt. It is easier over there and results in this country take more time to achieve as there are less companies offering incentives.