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 a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great to hack travel
- 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 hit the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, 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 travel. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire 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 not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can 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 like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. 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 pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount for your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.