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 woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream 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 the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial 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
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can combine points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! 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 in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re just 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 more legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together 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.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, 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 pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most from your travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay daily costs. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.