Are you tired of spending 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 sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account to see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay every day expenditures. This could include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This can give the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t accessible 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. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.