Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into airline miles, which can be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll be jet-setting 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 then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles to pay for hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans 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 comes time to book a flight consider the cost. If the cost is under $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to review your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Get Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are excellent to use for hacking travel:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card, you’ll have to meet the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own rules, so be sure to look up the details. Then it’s all about building up miles and using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points balance, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet vacation! Different credit card companies have different methods for redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the providers I have experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase cards, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through the portal, you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can combine the points as well as cash in order to pay for your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option of paying with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for one flight. If you’re a few points away, United also offers the option of buying additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable 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 either dollars or points however, not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Be sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn a credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using a credit card, do it! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It might be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another excellent way to meet the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up, ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they can repay you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan you owe, think about repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask your family members 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 have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and be ready to give gifts. Be sure to avoid paying more than you thinking of.
There are plenty of ways to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to use towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize 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, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you be able to hit the minimum amount of spending required to qualify for a credit card reward, however, you’ll also earn points or miles to cover those expenses.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by using your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This could be things like gas, groceries and even your telephone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like eating out or travelling. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a credit card, consider transferring the balance to a travel credit card with the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles wisely
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For example using your points to book a ticket directly through the airline may offer better value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For example, you may be able to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or Hotel rewards programme. This gives the benefit of a larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits which are not accessible through your credit card’s rewards program.
In addition, you should find out the card’s benefits. certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards using your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
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 to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.