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Are you tired of paying an enormous amount on flights? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles that can then be used to score discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some information, you’ll travel for free within a matter of minutes.

The Basics of Travel Hacking

Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.

How Does it Work?

The secret to success in hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the flight is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise above $500, you’ll want to look into the frequent flyer account to determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.

Get Started with Travel Hacking

Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are essential to you.

Top Credit Card Picks

Here are some credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Chase United Explorer
  • JetBlue Mastercard
  • Capital One Venture X

After you’ve been accepted for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to look up this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!

Ready to jet-set with your goals?

After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to redeem them for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:

Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward

If you have a Chase cards, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can combine money and points to book your trip. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can buy flights with 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 your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option of paying using dollars or points? Be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points on flights. If you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you the option of buying additional miles.

JetBlue

Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.

Reach that Minimum Spend

If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to reach the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done it and are here to share our tips and tricks.

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! Make sure you pay a cost, which is usually at least 3%. It may be worth it over the long term when the bonus is large enough.

Pay a medical bill

Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to cover an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up Ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can repay you.

Make a payment to pay off a loan

If you’re a borrower you owe, think about making payments on them with your credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with additional debt.

Ask family for help

Ask your family members to determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future that you can help pay for. Just make sure you are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re taking the initiative.

Purchase presents

If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can meet the minimum spending limit and also be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you thinking of.

There are plenty of methods to get the most of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to be used 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 the travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles to cover the costs.

Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures

Another way to meet the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card for everyday expenses. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.

Take advantage of bonus categories

Some travel credit cards will offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.

Think about a balance transfer

If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.

Utilize your miles and points prudently

When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for an gift card.

Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This will give the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.

Also, find out if your credit card offers certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.

When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.

Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.