Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discount or no-cost 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 success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s usually 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 look into those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards with a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the full price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s 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 we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they will repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got 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 are aware of the reason for doing it.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are many ways to make the most of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some 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 for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for daily costs. This can include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This can give an access larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using this program in the most efficient method possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.