Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for flights. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can 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 companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have 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 taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by utilising your credit cards to pay for everyday expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration 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 the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives an access greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out whether your credit card has any perks that can 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 extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. Utilizing all of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.