Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes 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 to travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved 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. From there, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re only a couple of point short United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
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 them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have 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 taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount to earn your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenses.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn 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 in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly with the airline might give you a better return than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient way possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.