Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape 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. In it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost 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? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 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 spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can 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 it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from 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 your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is utilising your credit cards for every day costs. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This gives an access wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
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 using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.