Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method 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 bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect 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 card, you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have 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 still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on flights. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can 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 I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of methods to get the most out of the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is utilising your credit cards for every day expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of 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 are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using this program in the most efficient method. By using all of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.