Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great to use for hacking travel:
- 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 have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due, 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’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these costs.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by using your credit card for daily costs. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method. By using all of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.