Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! 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 any 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 dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. However, 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.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members 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 trust the person and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to get the most from the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount for your credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card for everyday expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. 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 reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.