Are you tired of spending 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 welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading 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 will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards 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 hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with 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 can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are many ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.