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Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.

The Basics of Travel Hacking

Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.

How Does it Work?

The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.

Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking

Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with various features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.

Top Credit Card Picks

Here are some credit card options that can be excellent to hack travel

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Chase United Explorer
  • JetBlue Mastercard
  • Capital One Venture X

Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up this information. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!

Ready to jet-set with your goals?

Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:

Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards

If you own an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.

 

United

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, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on flights. No worries though, if you’re a few point short United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.

JetBlue

Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.

Hit that Minimum Spend

If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.

Pay your rent (if you can)

This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.

Make a payment on a medical expense

Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.

Repay the loan

If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with additional debt.

Ask family members for assistance

Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing it.

Buy presents

If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.

There are a lot of ways to make the most out of your travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:

Book travel expenses with your credit card

Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these expenses.

Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses

Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is using your credit card for daily costs. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.

Make the most of bonus categories

Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.

Take into consideration a balance transfer

If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.

Use your points or miles carefully

If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.

Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This can give an access wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.

Also, discover the card’s benefits. any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.

Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.

In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. 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 enjoy a wide range of travel perks.