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 credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of imagination and some know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to review the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards 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 or debit card, you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Escape with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to book your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the full 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 the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? 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 like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue 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 I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they can pay you back.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate 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. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of the travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these expenditures.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to 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 help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access wider range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most effective way possible. Through a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.