Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect 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 reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for the details. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to use them towards nice getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can combine points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on flights. If you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine your points 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.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s 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 because we’ve been there and we’re 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 your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only achieve the required amount to earn your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the costs.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay for every day costs. This could be things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will 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 points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This can give an access wider range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.