Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards 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 have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can combine points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! 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 every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. If you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you 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 take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight 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 for your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow 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 a Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access greater selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.