Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider know-how, 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 then be used to purchase discount or no-cost 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 credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are 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
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up 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, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. If you’re just a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of your travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card reward, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for every day costs. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.