Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. 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 of travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to plan 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 redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through 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 next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay everyday expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.