Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent 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. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done 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 pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already planning to.
There are many methods to get the most out of your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount for your credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay every day expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about 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 an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. Utilizing all of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.