Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting 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. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect to use for hacking 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 limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans, consider paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay 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 celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay everyday costs. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align 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 to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This can give an access greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective method. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.