Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of 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 about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be great 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 card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make certain to verify the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every 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 to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. If you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are 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 with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider repaying them using 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
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most from the travel credit card. accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those expenditures.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by using your credit card for daily expenses. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.