Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for the details. Then it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. 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 to cover these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card for everyday expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas, and 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 miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance, using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can get rewards on your own 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 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 effective way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.