Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer many 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 some credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be certain to verify the details. Then you can begin to rack miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can combine the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members to pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were contemplating to.
There are many methods to get the most out of your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For example, 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 a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This gives you access to a greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient method. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.