Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful 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 it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great to hack travel
- 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 limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total 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 fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. If you’re just a few points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet 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 tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute 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 you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are many methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which 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’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.