Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel 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 purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards 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 generally 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 review your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. But, 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 the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there 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 with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card for every day expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be 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 points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This will give you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine the card’s benefits. some perks that could save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient way possible. By using an array of methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.