Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group 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 to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are important 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
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to check for this information. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there 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 your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is using your credit card for daily expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using it in the most effective method possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.