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 way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial 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
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set 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 providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the total price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend 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 a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of your travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by using your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s 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. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most effective way possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.