Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent 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 or debit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it 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 for your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue additional 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 have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay daily expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective way possible. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.