Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect 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 reach the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. If you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. 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 or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from your travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for every day expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most efficient method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.