Are you tired 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 bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few 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 have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to check for the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t possess enough points for the total price, you can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can pool your points together 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 and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there 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 pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due Ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and look into 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 know why you’re doing it.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the required amount for your credit card reward and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points using your credit card for daily expenditures. This can include things like food, 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, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This can give an access larger selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has some perks that could reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a friend each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.