Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential 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 reach the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re just a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, 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 verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are here to share our tips and tricks.
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 be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid paying more than you contemplating to.
There are many methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points using your credit card for everyday expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching 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 you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.