Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars on the same flight. If you’re just a few points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, 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 prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards to pay everyday expenditures. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This gives an access larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make 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 rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.