Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the most value. All it boils down to is 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 to hacking travel? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make certain to verify this information. Then you can begin to rack miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can 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 challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those costs.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay every day expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should determine the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.