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 turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific 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 cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you still 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 know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re just a few points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, 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 your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for daily costs. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better return than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This gives an access larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to find out the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.