Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many advantages 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 a few credit card options that can be perfect to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can 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.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending 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 them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card. 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 trip, use you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend for your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This can 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
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, 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 example using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This gives you access to a larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card 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 travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.