Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent 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 reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the full price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay 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 taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the required amount for your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay everyday expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This can give an access larger selection 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. certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.