Are you tired of paying 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 credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect 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 guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. From there it’s all about building up miles, and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can combine points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if 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 a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
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 pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It might 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 required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card for daily expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This gives an access larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using it in the most efficient method. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.