Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent 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 need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. Then you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can combine points and cash to book your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the full price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. If you’re a few points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry 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 to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already planning to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most from your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay everyday expenses. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a greater selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.