Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking, evaluate the cost. 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 check your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the most value. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great for travel hacking:
- 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 hit the minimum spend limit in order to get 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 up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase credit card, then you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. 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 funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars on one flight. If you’re a few points away, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing 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 your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there 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 to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to cover an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to trust the person and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you planning to.
There are plenty of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spending requirement and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay daily expenditures. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points Make sure to utilize the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This will give the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards with your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card and make sure to track your rewards separately.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient method. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.