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 an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of 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 all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking 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 you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect 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 hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything 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 minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up 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 doing this.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most out of the travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is using your credit card for every day costs. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.