Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free 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 pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can combine points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every 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 on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to 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 where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything 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 required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are many methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is using your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider 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 the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives you access to a greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most effective method possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.