Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn 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 bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review those 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 each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great 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 have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can combine points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most from the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is making use of your credit card for everyday expenses. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles on certain kinds 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 habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover the card’s benefits. any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.