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 a fun way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or 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 establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are perfect to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up 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 points?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the ones I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to book your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of the travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the required amount to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is making use of your credit card for everyday costs. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line 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 that balance onto 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 amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use 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 your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. Through all of the methods I’ve described, 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.