Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can combine money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you still can book flights using 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 know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done 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 pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points using your credit card for every day expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of 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 on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most efficient method. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.