Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on flights. No worries though, if you’re a few points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re 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! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of your travel credit card. accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to discover the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t 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 it in the most effective way possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.