Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in 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 it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect to use for hacking travel:
- 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 reach the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. From there it’s all about building miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I have experience with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on flights. No worries though, if you’re a few points away, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and 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 the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 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 required spending is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they’ll pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you planning to.
There are many ways to make the most from using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is utilising your credit cards for daily costs. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in 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 allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. 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 with the airline might offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card and make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.