Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight 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 check those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 hit the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried 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 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 over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as 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 as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these costs.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay every day expenditures. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.