Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending 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
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to check for the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In 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 next trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret 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 pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This gives you access to a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective method possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.