Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer many benefits and features. 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 cards excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for 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 tired of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family 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 spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually 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 required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by using your credit card for everyday expenses. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card and make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using it in the most efficient method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.