Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses 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 cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards with many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending 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
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you still 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 flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most effective way possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.