Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards with many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit 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 certain to verify this information. From there, it’s all about racking 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 your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire price, you can buy flights with 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? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes 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. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay 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 you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are many ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to earn your credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay every day expenditures. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be 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 your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.