Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select 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 use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 hit the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
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 to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for every day expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip 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 choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This can give an access larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using it in the most effective way possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.