Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on flights. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried 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 a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are many ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards to pay every day costs. This could be items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about 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 an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater 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 get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using it in the most effective way possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.