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 an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect to hack travel
- 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 minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up the details. Then it’s all about building miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry because we’ve been there 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 using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most from your travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay every day expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This can give an access greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, find out if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient method. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.