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Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking is the answer to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which can be used to obtain discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.

The Basics of Travel Hacking

Travel hacking is about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. These miles can then be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car offers.

How Does it Work?

The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out 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 less than $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to review those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the most value. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel bank for every airline.

Start with Travel Hacking

Are you interested in learning the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open a credit card that comes with a welcome bonus. There are many great credit cards with various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are crucial to you.

Top Credit Card Picks

Here are a few credit cards great 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 spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so make sure to look up the details. From there, it’s all about racking miles and using them to book your dream vacation!

Ready to jet-set with your points?

Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are a few examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:

Getaway with Chase Ultimate Rewards

If you have an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll have access to almost every airline and you can combine points and cash to book your travel. You can even book entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using every credit card.

 

United

Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with dollars or points? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.

JetBlue

Looking for a flight within the United States? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars but not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature where you can combine your points with your family members and earn points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can prove you’re really family before trying to hack into the system.

Make sure you spend that minimum amount

If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. But don’t fret because we’ve been there and are here to share some of our tricks and tips.

Pay your rent (if you can)

This is a huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.

Pay for a medical bill

Another great way to hit the required spending is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses due, 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 have any loans take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t accumulate more debt.

Ask family for help

Ask your family members to see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.

Buy presents

If you’re in the middle of the holiday season you should consider purchasing all of your gifts with your credit card. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be ready for gift giving. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.

There are plenty of ways to get the most from using your credit or debit card for travel. accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:

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 or rental car, as well as other travel costs. You’ll not only be able to meet the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for those expenditures.

Use your credit card for everyday expenditures

Another way to meet the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is making use of your credit card for every day expenses. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.

Benefit from bonus categories

Many travel credit cards offer bonus points or miles for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your credit card’s rewards program and take advantage of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.

Consider the possibility of transferring your balance

If you are currently in debt on a credit card, consider transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfer. This will allow you to pay off your debts without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.

Make use of your miles or points carefully

Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to book a flight 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 your points to other loyalty programs. This allows you to have a wider range of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a reward program for hotels. This gives an access larger range of flights, hotels and other travel benefits that may not be accessible through the rewards program of your credit card.

Also, determine if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.

Finally, when you’re traveling with a friend, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards separately.

Overall, the key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide range of travel perks.