Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
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 to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be great to use for hacking 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 have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing 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 pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re 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 for your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of your travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of 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 hit the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay every day expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover the card’s benefits. some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient method. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.