Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution 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 score discounted or free flights to your desired 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 swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay in 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 those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is 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 to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some 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 reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most from the travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards to pay for daily expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This will give you access to a wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient method. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.