Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check 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 bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great to hack 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 limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to 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 companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay every day expenses. This can include 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 accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.