Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount 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? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can combine points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. If you’re just a few points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue 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 like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points using your credit card for everyday expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you 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 Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient method possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.