Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make certain to verify this information. Then it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can combine points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on the same flight. If you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, 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 quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it 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 with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount for your credit card as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is making use of your credit card for daily costs. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. 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 that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.