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Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, 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 incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.

How Does it Work?

The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish 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 flight is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.

Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking

Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task 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, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.

Top Credit Card Picks

Here are some credit cards great for travel hacking:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Chase United Explorer
  • JetBlue Mastercard
  • Capital One Venture X

If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!

Ready to jet-set with your ideas?

Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:

Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward

If you have a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.

 

United

Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on the same flight. If you’re just a few points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.

JetBlue

Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.

Hit that Minimum Spend

If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are here to share our tips and tricks.

Pay your rent (if you can)

This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.

Pay a medical bill

Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.

Pay off the loan

If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.

Ask your family members for help

Ask your family members to look into 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 understand why you’re doing this.

Give presents

If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.

There are plenty of ways to get the most out of your 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 ideas for maximizing your rewards:

Make travel reservations using your credit card

If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these costs.

Use your credit card for everyday expenses

Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card for everyday costs. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.

Take advantage of bonus categories

Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.

Consider the possibility of transferring your balance

If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.

Utilize your miles and points wisely

Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.

Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.

In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.

If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’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 reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method possible. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.