Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to look into your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United also offers 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 United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to 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 anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay 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 large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of your travel credit card and earn miles or points to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is making use of your credit card for every day expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This can give an access greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.