Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all 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 permit you to use 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 the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be certain to verify this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can combine points and cash to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on one flight. If you’re just a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack 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 minimum amount required to earn the 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 a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for gift giving. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is using your credit card for daily expenditures. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access greater selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most effective way possible. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.