Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide many advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make certain to verify this information. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can combine money and points to book your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points for flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member 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 pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay everyday expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This gives an access wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method. Utilizing an array of 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 variety of travel benefits.