Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for flights. If you’re just a few point short United provides the option of buying additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to 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 like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It could be worthwhile in the long run if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they will pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration paying them off with your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most from your travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount for your credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain 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 align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to the travel credit card which 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 spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when redeeming 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 gives an access larger variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should find out the card’s benefits. any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
If you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient way possible. By using a combination of the strategies I’ve listed that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.