Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet 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 you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up 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 understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest 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 allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This gives you access to a wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.