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 method to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $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 review your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred 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
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. 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 ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is using your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance, using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method. By using all of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.