This is the first in a series of blog posts describing our journey into the world of collecting travel rewards. Here is how we got involved in this crazy game and what we learned along the way. If you have in any way been involved in this game you will not be learning anything here. This is strictly our journey and an absolute beginner’s guide
How it Started:
Angela and I have always loved the idea of traveling and while we have not traveled extensively we have been lucky enough to make a few trips abroad and several other trips to countries closer to “home” (which is currently Toronto, Canada.) We took a spectacular trip to Thailand in 2017 and another to Italy and Croatia in 2019, using TD Rewards points to cover the vast majority of the costs for both trips.
Both of us held the TD First Class Travel card and put all of our daily expenses on them to earn the points. I mean literally every single expense. Bottle of water? You guessed it… charged to a credit card. Balances are paid in full and on time every month and for several years we were putting thousands of dollars a month on them. We were completely content with the idea of doing this for the foreseeable future.
Then covid happened in March 2020 and things changed. We were planning a trip to Spain and Portugal for the fall of 2020 and realized from the moment of the first lockdown that there would be no trip to Europe that year. No thoughts of anything drastic at that point, we just thought we needed to shift our mindset to 2021.
We came to the conclusion that in Spring of 2021 we would spend a month in Vietnam if possible. Vietnam has always been a bucket list item of ours and let’s face it, we aren’t 20 years old anymore and travelling within Asia is not going to get easier as we approach our old age. So as we adjusted to the ‘new normal’ we had a lot of time on our hands to watch a plethora of travel vloggers on youtube and read travel blogs to try and satisfy the itch we were having for traveling. Here are a few of the notable vloggers that inspired us:
Canada Day 2020
Fast forward to Canada day, we rented a cottage in Dorset, Ontario on the lake because I had never done Ontario “cottage country” before and we needed “travel” of some kind. With no TV or stable internet access, we spent our time on the deck and around the bonfire talking about travel, credit cards and what the future may hold.
This week at the cottage only magnified our desire for global travel. Decisions made at that point could only be described as drastic for most people. One of these decisions was to try credit card churning to fast track our ability to earn travel rewards. In all the media consumed in the months leading up to July, I stumbled upon this thing called “churning” (also known as “travel hacking”) in blogs and on youtube. These led me to many more sources such as online forums about the subject. I became totally consumed with this hobby and just needed to talk Angela into playing the game with me. Mission accomplished!