Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great 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 limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for the details. Then you can begin to rack miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the required amount for your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the costs.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards for every day expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with 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 bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This can give an access larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to find out the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most effective method. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.