Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great to hack travel
- 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 reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay 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 with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy 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 credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.