Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll fly for no cost 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. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide many features and benefits. 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 some credit card options that can be great for travel hacking:
- 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 limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for the details. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. If you’re a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to use towards 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
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is using your credit card for every day expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline could 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 rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. Utilizing all of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.