Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various features and benefits. 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 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be certain to verify the details. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to nearly every airline, and you can combine money and points to book your next trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there 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 your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most out of your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards to pay for daily expenditures. This could 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 pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has 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 amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most effective method possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.