Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for the same flight. If you’re just a few points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It may be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial 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 do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute 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 you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you planning to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from the travel credit card. accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these costs.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards for daily expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access larger variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your 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.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.