Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little 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 the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish 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 use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make 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 balance, it’s time to use them towards nice travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can combine money and points to pay for your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total price, you can 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 not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from your travel credit card. accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is by making use of your credit card for every day costs. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.