Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect to use for hacking 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 need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to check for this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still 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 flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on one flight. If you’re just a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together 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.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up which you could help pay 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 meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are many ways to make the most of 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 a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles 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 evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This can give an access larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.