Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn 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 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 establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 hit the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a 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 a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for 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 for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid paying more than you planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of your travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards for daily costs. This could include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.