Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- 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 hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify the details. Then, it’s all about racking miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
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 amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and we’re 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 using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card bonus, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay everyday costs. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the 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 wisely
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 then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program on 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, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do 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 it in the most effective way possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.