Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account 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 plenty of great credit cards with various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re just a few points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. The difference is that 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 quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members to pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend for your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing 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 enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This will give an access wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most effective way possible. Through all of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.