Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel 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 buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect to use for hacking travel:
- 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 minimum spend limit in order to receive 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 goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. Don’t worry 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 a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high 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 in the near future Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards for daily expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.