Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
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 pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards 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. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the full cost, you still can 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 know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing 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 pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Make 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 quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3%. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up which you could 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 taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay everyday expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make 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 your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for a 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 have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.