Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts to find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all comes down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is 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 all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to almost every airline and you can use a combination of money and points to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes even if you don’t possess enough points for the entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you can’t combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. However, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It might be worth it in the end in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Repay a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any big 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 understand why you’re doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are many methods to get the most of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount to earn your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover the expenses.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement and earn points is by making use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance to an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may give you a better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This gives you access to a wider range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that are invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with 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 reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most efficient method. Through a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.