Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make certain to verify this information. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you 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 the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial 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 using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine the card’s benefits. some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn 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 ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient method. Through all of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.