Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to look into those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect to hack 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 need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few point short 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 extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider making payments on them with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount for your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay for every day costs. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater return than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.