Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific 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 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 the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. 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 the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3%. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate 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. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid paying more than you planning to.
There are many methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is making use of your credit card for daily expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that 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 amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine the card’s benefits. any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.