Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- 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. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re just a few points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars 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 fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend 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 huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll 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. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s 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 also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for daily expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key 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 this program in the most efficient method. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.