Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then 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 money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you join your points with your relatives to 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 frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members to pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you thinking of.
There are many 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 more ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay every day costs. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be 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 points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance using your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an 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 enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.