Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re 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. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future 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 you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.