Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles, which can be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your desired destinations. With a little creativity and some insider knowledge, you can 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 purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate 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. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. All it boils down to is the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets of travel hacking? First step opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. 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 excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to virtually every airline. You can use a combination of points and cash to pay for 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 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 in cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying full price for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points you aren’t able to combine points and dollars for the same flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable travel experience that includes extra legroom and free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s, allowing passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. 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 huge one! If you’re able to pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3 percent. It might be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills due, ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll repay you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they understand why you’re doing it.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. This way you can hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already contemplating to.
There are many ways to make the most from your travel credit card and accrue points or miles to spend on airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. You’ll not only achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for these costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending and earn points is by using your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas or even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest. It will also help you hit the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program. This can give an access wider selection of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
In addition, you should determine if your credit card offers certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend and both of you get rewards on your own credit card. Make sure you don’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. Through all of the methods I’ve described, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.