Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. 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 on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards with a variety of features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards excellent to use for hacking travel:
- 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 reach the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for the details. From there, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you are able to buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most from the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card for daily expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line 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, think about transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility in making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.