Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is 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 of travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify this information. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
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 with dollars or points? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
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 percent. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by making use of your credit card for everyday expenditures. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on 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 are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card and make sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. Through all 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 benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.