Are you tired of spending 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 turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in 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 take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, 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 great 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 minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can combine money and points to pay for your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your 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, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt 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 are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can 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 your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is making use of your credit card for every day expenditures. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain 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 match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.