Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to use them towards nice travel! 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:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to buy flights with 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 flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel 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 ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount for your credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay daily expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better return 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 will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This can give an access larger variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers 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 can be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.