Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking 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 make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards with many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If 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. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance 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 with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re only a couple of point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are 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 for your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are many methods to get the most of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for everyday costs. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant 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 benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give an access greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not 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. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective method. Through all of the methods I’ve described that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.