Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline 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 knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
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. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing 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 cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great to hack travel
- 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 hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have 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 trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount for your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay for every day costs. This could be things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching 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 to utilize them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. Through all of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.