Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better 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 check the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret because we’ve been there 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 with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you planning to.
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 be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.