Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal 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 swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip 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. Through it, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can combine money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries 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 offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from the travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards to pay everyday expenses. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This will give an access greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.