Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus 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 will also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are 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
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan 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 cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can combine money and points to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the total price, you can 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 full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack 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 amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from your travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for every day expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase 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 choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This can give an access greater range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine the card’s benefits. any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of it in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.