Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. 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 the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can combine money and points to book your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. If you’re a few points away, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re 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 be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high 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 to pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using it in the most efficient method. By using 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 variety of travel benefits.