Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most from your travel credit card. earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance using points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater 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 rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.