Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, 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 and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great 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 need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. 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, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape 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 it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can combine money and points to book your trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine points and dollars on the same flight. If you’re just a few points short, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue has a unique feature where you can pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future 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 it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid paying more than you planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount for your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card for everyday expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide 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 take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your 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.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.