Are you tired of paying 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 credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which can be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost 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 higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. It all comes down to the amount 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 to hacking travel? The first step is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify the details. Then you can begin to rack up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards delicious getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you own an Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the full cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to 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.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they will pay you back.
Pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about paying them off with an 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 members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by utilising your credit cards for every day expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example, using points to book a ticket directly through the airline may provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase a 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 get a wider selection of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This gives an access wider range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover the card’s benefits. any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to making the most of your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most effective way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.