Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Then, there’s a good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to your travel-related problems. It’s a fun way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider know-how, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of trading credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to buy cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards let you redeem miles for hotel stays and car rental offers.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish a frequent flyer mile program with a limited number of airlines. When you are ready to make a booking, evaluate the cost. If the flight is under $300, it’s best to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting over $500, you’ll need to look into those frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. All it boils down to is the amount of points or miles in your travel bank for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets to travel hacking? The first step is opening an account with a sign-up offer. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer various advantages and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards 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 have to meet the minimum spend limit 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 miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to use them towards sweet vacation! Different credit card providers will have different methods of redeeming your points, but here are some examples from some of the companies I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within the portal, you’ll get access to virtually every airline and you can combine points and cash to pay for your travel. You can book your flight entirely with points if you’ve the funds to pay for it! Sometimes even if you do not be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance cash using every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option to pay with either points or dollars? Be careful, if you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine dollars and points on flights. Don’t worry, though, if you’re a few points short, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is similar to United’s, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue either dollars or points but not both. However, JetBlue has a unique feature that allows you to pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Be sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Make sure you spend that minimum amount
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca I’m sure you’re pretty economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for credit card bonuses. Don’t worry, 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 huge one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, then do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another great way to hit the required spending is to cover a medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your family members to pay their medical bills and they can repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re in the middle of a loan take into consideration making payments on them with an credit card. Be sure to pay the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue additional debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Discuss your family with them and determine if they’ve got any major expenses in the near future which you could help pay for. Just make sure you have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season, consider buying all your gifts with the credit card you have. This way you can hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you were already planning to.
There are plenty of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel. You can accrue points or miles to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional ways to maximize the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, make use of your travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. Not only will you be able to meet the required amount to qualify for a credit card as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those expenditures.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending to earn rewards is utilising your credit cards to pay everyday expenditures. This can include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance in full each month so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage 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. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and take advantage of any bonus categories that match with your spending routines.
Consider the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a debt on a credit card, think about transferring that 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. It will also assist you in reaching the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Utilize your miles and points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card, and evaluate the value of different redemption options. For instance you can use points to book a ticket directly with the airline might give you a better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to have a wider range of choices and more freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or reward program for hotels. This can give you access to a greater variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover if your credit card offers any perks that can save you money on travel-related expenses. Some cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that are extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
Finally, when you’re traveling with a companion and both of you earn rewards using your own credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program on your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient method. Through a combination of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad range of travel perks.