Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles to book a higher-priced flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to look into those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit 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. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of points and cash to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the total cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3%. It might be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower you owe, think about making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and look into any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you 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 the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can use towards the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is by utilising your credit cards to pay for every day expenditures. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a credit card, think about 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 help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline might give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This gives you access to a larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
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 making use of your credit card in the most effective way possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.