Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $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 above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be certain to verify the details. Then, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of 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 don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to 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 flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
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 family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay every day costs. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This gives an access larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient method possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.