Vietnam Travel Poster

Are you tired of spending an enormous amount on flights? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking is the answer to your travel-related problems. It’s an exciting method to turn credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little imagination and some know-how, you’ll fly for no cost in no time.

The Basics of Travel Hacking

Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards allow you to redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.

How Does it Work?

The key to successful travel hacking is to take advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and establishing frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to check your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best price. It all comes down to the amount of points or miles in your travel account for each airline.

Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking

Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is opening the credit card that comes with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide a variety of benefits and features. It all depends on your preferred airline, your habits with spending and the features that are most essential to you.

Top Credit Card Picks

Here are a few credit card options that can be perfect to use for hacking travel:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Chase United Explorer
  • JetBlue Mastercard
  • Capital One Venture X

After you’ve been accepted for a credit card you’ll need to reach the limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be sure to look up 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 points?

After you’ve accrued the points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice travel! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:

Getaway by using Chase Ultimate Rewards

If you own a Chase card, you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you still can purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.

 

United

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 using either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for flights. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.

JetBlue

Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to pool your points together with your relatives to earn points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.

Reach that Minimum Spend

If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tips and tricks.

Pay your rent (if you can)

This is an important one! If you’re able to pay for your rent with credit card, go for it! Be prepared to be charged a fee, typically around 3%. It may be worth it in the end when the bonus is large enough.

Make a payment on a medical expense

Another great way to hit the minimum spend is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.

Pay off a loan

If you have any loans, consider making payments on them with an credit card. Make sure to pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t end up with additional debt.

Ask family members for assistance

Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Make sure that you are able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.

Purchase presents

If it’s the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for gift giving. Be sure to avoid paying more than you contemplating to.

There are many ways to make the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ideas for maximizing your rewards

Book travel expenses with your credit card

When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of your travel credit card to pay for your flight, hotel, rental car, and any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to meet the minimum spend for your credit card as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles for the expenses.

Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures

Another method to reach the minimum spend in order to accumulate points making use of your credit card to pay for everyday costs. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.

Take advantage of bonus categories

Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Make sure you review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.

Consider a balance transfer

If you’re in the middle of a debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also 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 points or miles, be sure to use them wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the value of different redemption options. For instance using your points to book a flight directly with the airline could offer better value than using them for an gift card.

Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be capable of transferring your reward to frequent flyer programs of airlines or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give an access larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks that may not be offered through your credit card’s rewards program.

Additionally, try to determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will reduce your travel costs. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be invaluable when you travel.

Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of the rewards you earn separately.

The key to reaping the maximum benefits from your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient method. By using an array of strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.