Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price 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 higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account 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 bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with many features and benefits. 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 great to use for hacking 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 reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for 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 do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. 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 an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card. earn miles or points to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives an access larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine the card’s benefits. any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.