Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which can be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect 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 minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be certain to verify this information. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the 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 pay for your travel. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it 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 with credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members to pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay every day expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, 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, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.