Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel 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. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect to use for hacking travel:
- 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 reach the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United provides 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. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
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 to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your family members to pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most from your travel credit card. accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the costs.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay daily expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give an access wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most effective method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.