Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you 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 the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with various 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 excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can combine points and cash to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. 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 I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider making payments on them with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can 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, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the required amount to earn your credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards to pay daily expenditures. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a 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 the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.