Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting 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 pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify the details. From there you can begin to rack miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points away, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3%. 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 great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand 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. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of the travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can use 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, use you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This can include 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 accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.