Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to review the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there you can begin to rack miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re 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, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up 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 a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider 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 your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This gives an access larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most effective method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.