Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various 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 excellent 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 get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your 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 entire 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 fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the option to purchase 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. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret 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 to pay your rent using credit card, then do 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 for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with 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 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 are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most from the travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend for your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by utilising your credit cards to pay for daily costs. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto 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 help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be available 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. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using it in the most effective way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.