Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to convert sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to review the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer various features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for the details. From there it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can combine money and points to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance 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 every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry as we’ve done 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 for your rent with a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for doing it.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most out of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card reward, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is utilising your credit cards to pay for daily costs. This can include items like groceries, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give the benefit of a wider variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, find out if your credit card offers some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. Through an array of strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.