Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide many advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great to hack travel
- 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 hit the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. Then it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points using your credit card for daily expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card 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. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer 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, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. 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 travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.