Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
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 buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make certain to verify the details. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full price, you can purchase flights through the 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 not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high 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 in the near future Ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay for every day expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in 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 transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that may not be offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover the card’s benefits. some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.