Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to check the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent 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 limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up the details. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
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 to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid paying more than you contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend for your credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards for daily expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most effective way possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.