Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards 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 have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up the details. From there you can begin to rack up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards nice getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can combine money and points to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the total cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on the same flight. 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? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share 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 could be worthwhile in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you planning to.
There are many ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is utilising your credit cards for daily expenditures. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to 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 simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give an access wider variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, 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 this program in the most efficient way possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.