Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting 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 ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay 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. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up the details. Then it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing 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 pool your points together 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.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they will repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is using your credit card to pay for every day expenses. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give an access greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.