Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take 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’s time 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 book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent 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 reach 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. Then, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to book your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. If you’re a few points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are 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 a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by using your credit card for everyday costs. This could be items like groceries, 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.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.