Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can 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 purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total cost, you are able to book flights using 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 know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach 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 required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay daily expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may 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 variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most effective method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.