Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts and 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.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great 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 need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to use them towards nice travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most out of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards 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
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points using your credit card for every day costs. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This will give an access larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card and 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 the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.