Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide many features and benefits. 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 use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for the details. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired 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 either points or dollars? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large 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 in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower, 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 accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most from your travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better 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 will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access wider variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.