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 method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are 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 card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method possible. By using an array of methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.