Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little 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 about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent to use for hacking travel:
- 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 need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the 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 providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay everyday costs. This could include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month 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, including dining or travel. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
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 the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater 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 points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives an access wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you 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 separately.
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 using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.