Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to check for this information. Then it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your travel. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Be 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 and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 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 pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans, consider paying them off with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with 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 help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum spend to earn rewards is using your credit card for everyday costs. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, think about transferring the balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This gives you access to a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that may not be offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, find out the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.