Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other 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 information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to review those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards with various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. If you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done 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 pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large 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 in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re 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. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to get the most from your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend for your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be 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 bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient method possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.