Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can 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 and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various 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 a few credit card options that can be great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved 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 guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re just a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is by utilising your credit cards to pay daily expenditures. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.