Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting method to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account to see which airline can 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 each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great for travel hacking:
- 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. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably 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, we’ve been through 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 pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3 percent. It might be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can reimburse you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are many ways to make the most out of the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay daily costs. This could be things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, including dining or travel. Check out the rewards program of 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 outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.