Are you tired 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 welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking 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. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to look into your frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect 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 have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to check for this information. 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 points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of points and cash to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider paying them off with an credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any major expenses in the near future that you can contribute for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of the travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend to qualify for a credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card for every day expenditures. This could include items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, like dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example, using points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re using it in the most effective way possible. Utilizing an array of methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.