Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover 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 tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3%. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, find out if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when 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 track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.