Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to check those frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great to use for hacking travel:
- 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 hit the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make certain to verify this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re just a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the 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 a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members to pay for theirs and they will 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 accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most of the travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount for your credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay everyday expenditures. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access wider selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.