Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are 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
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can make use of 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 have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired 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 using dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more 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. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they understand why you’re 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 prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient way possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.