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 a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for 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 car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus 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 cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great 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 need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up the details. Then it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on the same flight. If you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together 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.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
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 be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you planning to.
There are many ways to make the most of 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:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is using your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
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 your credit card in the most efficient way possible. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.