Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a 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 the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s best 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 to find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer various 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 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 get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with 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? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit 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 our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of your travel credit card. 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 additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by using your credit card for everyday costs. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.