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 an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in 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 those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with a variety of 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 some credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total price, you can 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 know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done 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! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend for your credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay every day costs. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
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 instance using points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. 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.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.