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 an exciting method to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can combine money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the full price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re a few point short United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done 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 to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from the travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, 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, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card to pay daily expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better return than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most efficient way possible. Through a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.