Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish 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 use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can combine money and points to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for flights. No worries though, if you’re a few points away, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers 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 points or dollars, but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up 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 doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already planning to.
There are many methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount for your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you 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 miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits 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 able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.