Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make certain to verify the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can combine money and points to book your next trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay every day costs. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.