Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every 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 a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect 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 card has different rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to join your points 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 like me or my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This could be things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to 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 the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a wider variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards 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 using it in the most effective way possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.