Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, 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 incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect 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 card you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to get 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 book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can combine points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United gives you 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 legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards to pay for every day expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit 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. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.