Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking 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’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can combine points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for the same flight. If you’re just a few points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue 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 buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend for your credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for everyday costs. This could include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, 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 travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.