Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to review the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils 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 ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent to use for hacking 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 reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for this information. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to book your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every 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? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend for your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is using your credit card for every day expenditures. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give you access to a larger variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.