Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll fly for no cost 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 discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards with many advantages and features. It is all dependent on the 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 perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make certain to verify this information. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before 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 daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make 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
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you contemplating to.
There are many ways to make the most out of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is utilising your credit cards for everyday expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.