Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll 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 then be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you are able to 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 flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or 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 minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there 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 credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.