Are you tired of paying 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 convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking 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 for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can combine points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to 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.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit 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 our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to get the most from the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by using your credit card for daily expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to 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, including eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using this program in the most effective method. Through an array of methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.