How We Rented a Car in Hawaii for $0 vs.$750

This post is not sponsored; opinions are my own.

One of the biggest expenses we faced on our trip to Kauai, Hawaii was the cost of a rental car. We needed to get creative in order to avoid adding $750 to the cost of our trip which is the average cost of renting a car at the Lihue airport in Kauai.

Travel hacking is something I’ve started for our family in the past year or so. Through travel hacking, I learn to use points and miles in order to get travel discounts or expenses covered for our family. I’m going to break down how I got a free rental car through travel hacking below:

  • I opened the Citi American Airline AAdvantage credit card. I never had any intention of flying American Airlines but wanted to use the intro offer to pay for the cost of my rental car.
  • I had a pre-exisiting Advantage award number, but it’s important to create one if you don’t. I then hit the minimum spend of the card which was $3500 within 4 months and received 75,000 bonus miles. I hit that $3500 minimum by putting a big bill outside of our every day expenses, like a car insurance bill, along with some other big purchases like medical bills.
  • Once the miles were in the account, I logged onto the Advantage website and booked a free rental car with the 75,000 miles.
  • I will keep this credit card opened for one year, without using it, to help my credit score. It didn’t have an annual fee but will after the one year anniversary date, so I will be sure close the card a few days prior to the one year anniversary.
  • Besides keeping a reminder in my calendar, I downloaded the free Travel Freely app which tracks all credit cards I’ve opened for travel perks.

While I am not an expert in travel hacking, it certainly can help you save money or help you score a free rental car, flight or hotel stay. On Instagram, one of the best resources in travel hacking is @travelhackingmom who breaks down more information on ways to save.

Have you tried travel hacking?


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