Are you tired of spending 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 sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from 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 about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to look into your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect to hack travel
- 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 need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together 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 anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret, we’ve been through 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 at least 3%. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get 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 a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better return than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This gives you access to a larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most effective method. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.