Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3%. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by using your credit card for everyday expenditures. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.