Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take 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 less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay 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 the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired 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? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card for every day expenditures. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This will give an access wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. Through a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.