Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some 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 as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. It is all dependent on the 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 great for travel hacking:
- 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 hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can combine points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. No worries though, if you’re a few points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. 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 great way to hit the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most from your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay daily expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This gives you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.