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 an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into your frequent flyer accounts and 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 interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent to use for hacking travel:
- 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 reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It might be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they will repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of your travel credit card. accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points utilising your credit cards to pay everyday expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion 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 instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective way possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.