Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to review the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It depends on the type of 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 hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars for flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. 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 a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.