Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect 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 minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on one flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share 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 credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is by utilising your credit cards for every day expenses. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance 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 for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. 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 with the airline could offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. Through a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.