Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll 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 then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off 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. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card reward, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards for daily costs. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you 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 give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer 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 each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective method possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.