Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for 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 it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify the details. Then it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.