Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll 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 as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. 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 look into the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for 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?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to use them towards nice getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. If you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the option of buying 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 legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with your family members and 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 like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of your travel credit card and earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example, using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a 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 get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This can give an access larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most effective way possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.