Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for 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 trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent 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 card you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can combine points and cash to book your travel. You can even book completely 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 price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty 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 because we’ve been there and are 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, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider making payments on them with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points using your credit card for every day expenses. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance, using points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective way possible. By using an array of methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.