Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect 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 need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make certain to verify this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. If you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from your travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to earn your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is using your credit card to pay daily costs. This could be items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Many 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 get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.