Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with a variety of advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! 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 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 using either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re a few points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It might 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 minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans, consider paying them off with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount for your credit card as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is by making use of your credit card for everyday expenses. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.