Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to check the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can combine points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got 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 any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. If you’re a few point short United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card 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 major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you already thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most from your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay everyday expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re using this program in the most effective way 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 benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.