Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to check your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial 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
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to receive 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 then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together 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.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can repay you.
Repay the loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are many methods to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenses. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when 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 greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with someone else and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.