Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
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 a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards with many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to use them towards nice travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It might be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid paying more than you thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only achieve the required amount to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by using your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This gives you access to a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.