Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be 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 or debit card, you’ll need to reach 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 this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to use them towards nice travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total price, you can 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 your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season 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 giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already planning to.
There are many ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points using your credit card for every day expenses. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can 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 someone else and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.