Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to review the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If 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 sure to check for the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are many ways to make the most from the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay everyday costs. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to 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, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This gives an access wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will 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 a friend and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using it in the most effective method. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.