Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles which you can use to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can later be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in travel hacking is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay in cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to look into your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards with various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
Once you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the minimum spend limit in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. Then, it’s all about racking miles and then using them to book your dream vacation!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your goals?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I have experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can combine money and points to book your trip. You can even book entirely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire price, you can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United you can choose the option of paying using dollars or points? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on the same flight. If you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra legroom as well as free snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. 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 and my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry as we’ve done it and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a huge one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 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 minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members if you can pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Repay the loan
If you have any loans you owe, think about repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any big 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 are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you contemplating to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can earn miles or points to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional ways to maximize your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of the travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the minimum spend to earn your credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenses.
Use your credit card to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to meet the minimum spending requirement in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay for daily expenses. This could be items like groceries, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or bonus points for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and make use of any bonus categories that align with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously help you hit the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles prudently
If you’ve amassed a large amount of points or miles make sure you use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might give you a better return than using them for an gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will let you have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This can give you access to a larger variety of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not available through your credit card’s rewards program.
Additionally, try to discover the card’s benefits. some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection, and other benefits that can be invaluable when you travel.
If you’re traveling with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Make sure you don’t share the costs on the same card, and be sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
The key to making the most of your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient way possible. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.