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Are you tired of spending a fortune on airfare? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting method to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or free flights to your ideal destinations. With a bit of imagination and some information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.

The Basics of Travel Hacking

Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car offers.

How Does it Work?

The key to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.

Start with Travel Hacking

Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are important 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

If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to receive the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then you can begin to rack miles and then 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 use them towards sweet getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:

Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards

If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can combine money and points to book your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using the credit card of your choice.

 

United

Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you aren’t able to combine dollars and points for flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few point short United also offers the option of buying additional miles.

JetBlue

Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can 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 or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.

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Pay your rent (if you can)

This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3%. It might be worth it in the long run if the bonus is high enough.

Pay for a medical bill

Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to pay for the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can repay you.

Make a payment to pay off the loan

If you’re a borrower, consider repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with more debt.

Ask family for help

Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large 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.

Buy gifts

If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already planning to.

There are plenty of ways to make the most of the travel credit card. You can earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize your rewards:

Pay for travel expenses using your credit card

Whenever you’re planning a trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles on these costs.

Use your credit card for all your daily costs

Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay every day expenses. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.

Take advantage of bonus categories

Some travel credit cards will offer bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.

Consider the possibility of transferring your balance

If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.

Use your points or miles prudently

When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.

Another tip is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to get a wider selection of choices and more flexibility when you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This will give an access wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.

Additionally, try to determine if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.

If you’re traveling with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.

The key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method possible. By using all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.