Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes 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 what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent 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 need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you 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 your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret 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 huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
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 reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of your travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards for daily costs. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better value 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 allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This will give an access larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.