Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal 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 trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide many advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential 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
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can combine points and cash to book your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the full price, you can book flights using the 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 flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of your travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt 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 carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety 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 an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This will give an access larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.