Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which you can use to get discounted or even cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and rewards for airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts and see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer many benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great to hack travel
- 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 have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. Then, 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 ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can use a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. 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 entire cost, you still can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Butbe aware that if you do not have enough points you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. If you’re a few points short, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars 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. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty thrifty and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for credit card bonuses. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share 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 a credit card, do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet 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 their medical bills and they will repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration making payments on them with the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and look into any large expenses coming up that you can contribute 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 of your gifts with your credit card. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to make the most of your travel credit card and accumulate miles or points that you can spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to meet the required amount to earn your credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending and earn points is using your credit card for every day expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for specific types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant 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 benefits of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better value than using them to purchase the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that may not be available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most effective method possible. Utilizing a combination of the strategies I’ve listed, 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.