Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect to use for hacking travel:
- 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 minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, 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 extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before 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 economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are many methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking 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 and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for every day costs. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a 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 transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine the card’s benefits. any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most effective method. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.