Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
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 fee, usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big 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 know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This will give an access wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine the card’s benefits. any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card and make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient method possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.