Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired 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 all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental 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 building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most 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 have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can combine points and cash to book your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to 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 your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, 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 offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion 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 spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the costs.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for every day expenditures. 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.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This can give an access greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.