Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can combine points and cash to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re a few points away, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big 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 doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards for every day expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.