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Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.

The Basics of Travel Hacking

Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.

How Does it Work?

The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb above $500, you’ll want to review those frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.

Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking

Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most essential 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 need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there you can begin to rack up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!

Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?

After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:

Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward

If you own a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll get access to nearly every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.

 

United

Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful in case you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.

JetBlue

Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.

Hit that Minimum Spend

If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.

Pay your rent (if you can)

This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.

Pay a medical bill

Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll repay you.

Make a payment to pay off a loan

If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue more debt.

Ask family members for assistance

Talk to your family and look into any large expenses coming up that you can contribute 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.

Purchase presents

If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.

There are many ways to make the most out of the travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards

Book travel expenses with your credit card

Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the required amount for your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those expenses.

Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures

Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay for every day costs. This can include items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.

Make the most of bonus categories

A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.

Take into consideration a balance transfer

If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.

Make use of your miles or points wisely

When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a flight directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.

Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a wider range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.

Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.

Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure you 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 know the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.