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 woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important 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
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? 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 similar to that of United Airlines that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done 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 pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for 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 in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your 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 qualify for a credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay for everyday expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out the card’s benefits. some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.