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 an exciting method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to look into the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn 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 offer many advantages and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to reach the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up the details. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can combine money and points to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re just a few points away, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills due then ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they can pay you back.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to be used towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use the 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 for your credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay daily costs. This can include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, including dining or travel. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about 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 that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For instance using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.
Also, determine whether your credit card has any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with 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 know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.