Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent 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 or debit card, you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can combine money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on one flight. If you’re a few points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret 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 to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration paying them off with an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from your travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card for everyday costs. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, discover the card’s benefits. some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using it in the most effective way possible. 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 take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.