Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great to use for hacking travel:
- 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future 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 it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points using your credit card for everyday expenses. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This gives you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most efficient method. Through a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.