Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect for travel hacking:
- 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. Every card has different rules, so make certain to verify this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can combine money and points to book your next trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably 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. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and are here to share some of 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! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for 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 coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can pay you back.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider making payments on them with an credit card. 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 help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
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, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by utilising your credit cards to pay everyday expenses. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. 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 with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of 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 effective method. By using all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.