Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to look into your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards with various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with dollars or points? Be careful that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on the same flight. If you’re only a couple of points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are many ways to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is using your credit card to pay everyday expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a flight directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or reward program for hotels. This will give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.