Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards with many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most from the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient way possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.