Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can combine money and points to pay for your travel. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything 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 spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, 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 a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are many ways to get the most out of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using 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 any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card for everyday costs. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in 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 transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate 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 for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This gives you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective method. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.