Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price 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 don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. If you’re just a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. 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 huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of your 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 more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay every day expenses. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to 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 rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.