Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which you can use to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the price is under $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is opening a credit card with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, spending habits and what features are essential 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
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll need to hit the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so make sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase card, you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In it, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that lets you pool your points together with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3%. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the required spending is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they will repay you.
Pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any large 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 know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all your gifts using your credit card. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already planning to.
There are many ways to make the most from the travel credit card and earn miles or points to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the required amount for your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenses.
Use your credit card for all your daily expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay for every day expenditures. This could be things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Utilize your miles and points prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance, using points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to making use of your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This can give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card, and be sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re using your credit card in the most efficient method. By using a combination of the methods I’ve described that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it, and enjoy a wide range of travel perks.