Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost 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 purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial 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 card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the 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 not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through 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, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card reward, but you’ll also be earning 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 spending requirement to earn rewards is using your credit card for everyday expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow 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 reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. Through an array of methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.