Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then 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 offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret 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 for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can combine money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. If you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
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 reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry because we’ve been there 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 pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book 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 as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the costs.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is using your credit card to pay for daily costs. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.