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Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles that can then be used to score discounted or cheap flights from your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.

The Basics of Travel Hacking

Travel hacking is about exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.

How Does it Work?

The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out a frequent flyer mile program on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay cash and use your miles to pay for a more expensive flight. If the prices start to rise higher than $500, it’s best to review those 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 savings account for each airline.

Get Started with Travel Hacking

Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? Your first task is to open a credit card with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various 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 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 or debit card, you’ll need to hit the minimum spend limit in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. Then you can begin to rack miles and using them to book your dream vacation!

Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?

Once you’ve accumulated the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious travel! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points, but here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve had experience with:

Take a trip with Chase Ultimate Rewards

If you’re a holder of a Chase cards, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within this portal you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can make use of a combination of money and points to pay for your travel. You can even book completely using points if you’ve got 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 the credit card of your choice.

 

United

Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you know that when you book directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Butbe aware, if you don’t have enough points, you can’t combine dollars and points for flights. No worries though, if you’re just a few points short, United provides the option of buying additional miles.

JetBlue

Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with your relatives to earn points twice as quickly. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.

Make sure you spend that minimum amount

If you’re anything like me and my travel buddy Becca You’re probably quite frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. But don’t fret as we’ve done it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.

Pay your rent (if you can)

This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent using credit card, then do it! Be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3%. It may be worth it over the long term if the bonus is high enough.

Pay for a medical bill

Another excellent way to meet the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up Ask your family members to pay for theirs and they can repay you.

Repay the loan

If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using the credit card you have. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.

Ask your family members for help

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 trust the person and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.

Purchase presents

If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all of your gifts with cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were thinking of.

There are plenty of methods to get the most of your travel credit card. You can accrue points or miles to use towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few additional ideas for maximizing your rewards

Book travel expenses with your credit card

Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum spend to earn your credit card bonus and earn points, but you’ll also be earning points or miles on these expenses.

Use your credit card for all your daily expenses

Another way to hit the minimum spend to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay everyday costs. This could be items like groceries, gas, and 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 miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, including eating out or traveling. Check out your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending habits.

Take into consideration the possibility of transferring your balance

If you are currently in debt on a credit card, think about transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfer. This will let you pay off your debt without accruing interest, and also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.

Make use of your miles or points prudently

When you’ve earned a significant amount of miles or points make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly with the airline could give you a better value than using them to purchase an gift card.

Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will let you enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility when redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be eligible to transfer your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a hotel rewards program. This will give an access greater selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.

Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.

When you travel with a companion, both of you can get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot divide the cost with the same card, and be sure to keep track of the rewards you earn separately.

Overall, the key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve listed, you’ll be able to get rewards in a short time, use rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.