Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
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 purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book 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 full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. 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 to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It may be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount for your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate 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 bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to track 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 of your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.