Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel woes. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or free flights to your desired destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise over $500, you’ll need to look into your frequent flyer accounts to determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of miles or points in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide many benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards great for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to look up this information. Then it’s all about building miles and using them to plan your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card companies will have different methods for redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from some of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase card, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline, and you can use a combination of the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not possess enough points for the entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on one flight. If you’re a few points short, United also offers the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Be sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually at least 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due Ask your family members to pay for theirs and they will reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family for help
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any large expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all your gifts using cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll meet the minimum spending limit and also be prepared to give gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you planning to.
There are many methods to get the most out of your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the required amount for your credit card reward and earn points, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for those expenditures.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenditures
Another method to reach the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay for daily expenditures. This could include things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.
Consider a balance transfer
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For example you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline might offer better value than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of choices and more freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that may not be accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
Also, discover if your credit card offers certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with a friend and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to track your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most effective method. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.