Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to review those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent to hack travel
- 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 limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify the details. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points 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.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. 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 spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you planning to.
There are many ways to get the most from your travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the required amount to earn your credit card as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay every day expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage 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 outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate 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 an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.