Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards with many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can combine points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points 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 or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer 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 aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This will give an access wider range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.