Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards with various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great 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 hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set 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 have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine 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 the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are 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 using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are many methods to get the most from your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points using your credit card for everyday costs. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This can give an access greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.