Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to review the frequent flyer account and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards great to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to check for this information. Then, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to nearly every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your travel. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars on flights. If you’re a few points away, United also offers the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you combine 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.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they can repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and look into any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you thinking of.
There are many ways to make the most of your travel credit card. accrue points or miles 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:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend for your credit card bonus as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by using your credit card to pay every day costs. This could include things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Benefit from bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will 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 them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has any perks that can help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using your credit card in the most effective method possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide variety of travel benefits.