Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. But, 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 prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. accumulate miles or points that you can spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay every day costs. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance using points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most effective method possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.