Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to your travel-related problems. 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 cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a little bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to purchase discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.
How Does it Work?
The key to success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and establishing a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight consider the cost. If the flight 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 above $500, you’ll want to review your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel savings account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? First step opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It is all dependent on the airline, spending habits and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit card options that can be perfect for travel hacking:
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
After you’ve been accepted for a credit or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of guidelines, so make certain to verify the details. From there it’s all about building up miles and using them to plan your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated your points amount, it’s time to cash them in for some sweet getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own an Chase card, you can redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Through it, you’ll have access to virtually every airline, and you can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your next trip. You can book your flight 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 in cash with any 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 to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points on one flight. Don’t worry, though, if you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re anything like me and my travel companion Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically at least 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another great way to hit the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you don’t have any medical bills in the near future Ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they will repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you have any loans, consider repaying them using an credit card. Make sure to pay off the balance on your credit card in full so you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask your family members for help
Discuss your family with them and look into any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If you’re in the middle of the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared to give gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are many ways to make the most from your travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards
Book travel expenses with your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use your travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the required amount to qualify for a credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is by using your credit card for every day expenditures. This can include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off 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 points in exchange for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance to the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will enable you to pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles Make sure to utilize them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card, and evaluate the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a ticket directly with the airline could give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a hotel rewards program. This can give the benefit of a larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t offered through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should find out if your credit card offers any perks that can reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.
When you travel with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
In the end, the most important thing to do to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of this program in the most effective way possible. By using all of the strategies I’ve listed in this article, you’ll be able get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.