Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which can be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best price. It all boils down to the amount of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial 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
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. If you’re just a few point short United gives you the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing 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 join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. 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 like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It might be worth it over the long term 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 the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most of the 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 ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is using your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This gives the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, find out whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else and both of you earn rewards with 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.
Overall, the key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.