Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open an account 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, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up 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?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to use them towards sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can combine points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary 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. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
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 are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for 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 meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for these expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program 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 onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow 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 an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, determine whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient way possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.