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 an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they’ll repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you thinking of.
There are many methods to get the most out of the travel credit card. accrue points or miles to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on the expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.