How to Use HSA for Travel Hacking

“Failure is not permanent; sometimes you simply have to adjust your strategy to win!”

-Peerless Money Mentor




This blog post is a continuation of my health savings account post How I Failed At Investing My HSA Funds.  In that post, I spoke about how I failed to achieve my goal of investing my HSA funds this year.  I decided to use my HSA funds that I saved up for medical expenses, instead of investing it, because I realized I was ignoring my health by avoiding doctor and dental visits in order to save the minimum of $2000 to start invest my funds.  Even though, I failed to achieve that goal, I realized I could adjust my strategy to win in the end!  Plus, it was not a total failure since I succeeded at saving money for medical expenses.

Paula Pant's Tweet
Paula Pant responding to my last blog post!

Paula Pant from the Afford Anything podcast I love reminded me to be proud of saving my HSA funds for medical expenses and learning about the hack strategy for future use.  I am proud of those huge victories and I am ready to achieve another victory by using my HSA for travel hacking.  The idea to use my HSA for travel hacking came to me while listening to episode 9 of the ChooseFI that focuses on travel rewards.

Travel Hacking
Travel Rewards episode on Choose FI

While listening to Jonathon and Brad discuss options to meet the minimum spending requirement (amount you must spend to earn travel rewards bonus), I realized that I could use the money I spend from my HSA next year to meet the requirement of my next travel rewards card.  Before listening to the podcast, the only travel card I possessed was the Capital One Venture card.


*I speak about this briefly at 34 min mark of Episode 56R Choose Fi Nation Episode!

Venture Travel Hacking
Bienvenidos a Miami

I used this card to fly for free from New Orleans to Miami at the end of September.  To reach the minimum spending requirement on this card, I used it for gas and other expenses.  Some of the other expenses included my phone bill, insurance, and internet bill.  These are all bills you can pay without being hit with a credit card fee, which eats into your rewards!  I was able to hit the minimum spend balance quickly and used my points to redeem my free flight.  The next card I would get would be the Southwest Plus card Jonathon and Brad mentioned on their podcast.  I applied for it right after listening to their show.

To earn the travel rewards bonus of 40,000 points (Valued at $628), I need to spend at least $1000 within three months.  This time I will use the money I spend on medical expenses to help me reach the minimum faster.  As I am writing this blog post, I am staring at some recent medical bills.  My plan is to wait for my physical card to come in and use it to pay those bills off.  After I pay them with the card, I will reimburse myself from my HSA!


Value of Southwest Points, According to

A Word of Caution

Travel hacking with credit cards only works if you are disciplined enough to pay your credit cards off in full each month to avoid interest charges.  Another way to avoid interest charges is by signing up for cards that have zero interest periods.  The key to winning with rewards cards program is to avoid unnecessary spending.  Jonathon and Brad speak about this on the podcast episode, which I highly recommend you listen to! Safe travels and avoid snakes!



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Author: Jerry

Jerry is a Business Insider Contributing Writer who is obsessed with personal finance. He believes you can improve your financial situation by applying principles taught by the financial independence community to your financial life.

If you are having trouble saving, he recommends that you join the SaverLife Savings program where you can get a $60 reward after six months (no income requirement). All you have to do is put a minimum of $20 a month into a savings account. Easy, right?

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