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 problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for 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 rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect 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 have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you still can buy flights with 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 flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. If you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it 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 to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay 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 take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by utilising your credit cards to pay every day expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.