Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent to use for hacking travel:
- 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 reach the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for this information. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
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! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is using your credit card to pay for every day expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could give you a better return 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 allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on 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 friend and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.