Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all comes down to the number of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards that are excellent 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 reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some nice vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. If you’re a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re 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 your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most from the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the required amount to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenses. This could include 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 pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide 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 make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This will give the benefit of a greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover whether your credit card has any perks that can save you money on travel-related costs. 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 someone else and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to maximizing 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 efficient method. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.