Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight 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 above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great 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 limit of spending minimum 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 plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re just a few points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that 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. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. But don’t fret because we’ve been there 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 your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Pay off the 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 completely so that you don’t end up with additional 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. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of your travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is making use of your credit card for every day costs. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.