Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key 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 consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit 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 be sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine the card’s benefits. any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using it in the most effective way possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.