Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 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 do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is using your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This can give an access wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method possible. By using all 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.