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 an exciting method to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various features and benefits. It depends on the type of 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 perfect to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify the details. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. 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 cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most from the travel credit card. accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by using your credit card for everyday expenditures. This could include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when 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 a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand 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 in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.