Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting 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. These miles can then be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points 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? Your first task is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many advantages and features. 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 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. From there you can begin to rack miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order 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 have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack 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 challenging to attempt to spend 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 some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It may 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 pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month 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, such as eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This gives an access larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most effective method. By using all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.