Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program 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 generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with various advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most 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
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape with 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 this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can combine money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before 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 quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members if you can pay them 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 completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to look into any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay everyday costs. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide 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 companion and both of you earn rewards with your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.