Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? 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 obtain discounted or cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles to pay for hotel stays or car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the flight is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the most value. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is opening a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great to hack 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 reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make certain to verify this information. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your goals?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the ones I’ve worked with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of an Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. In the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your next trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every 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 can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points on one flight. No worries though, if you’re just a few points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to that of United Airlines which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that allows you to join your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to pay for the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay for theirs and they will pay you back.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about paying them off with your credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to look into any big expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be prepared for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of the travel credit card and accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. 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 to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those costs.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay daily costs. This can include things like food, gas or even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for specific types 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 align with your spending habits.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring the balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest and simultaneously assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use your points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This gives the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits which are not offered through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to find out the card’s benefits. some perks that could save you money on travel-related costs. Many cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t split the cost on the same card, and be sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to reaping the maximum benefits from your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re making use of it in the most effective method possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide variety of travel benefits.