Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream 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 swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great for travel hacking:
- 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify this information. Then it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could 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 doing it.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with your credit card. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are many methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay for daily costs. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.