Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles, that can then be used to get discounted or even cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a little imagination and some knowledge, you can travel for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses and rewards for airline miles. The miles can be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Some credit cards also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or car rental discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and to establish a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s best 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 look into your frequent flyer accounts to see which airline can give you the best deal. It all boils down to the amount of points or miles you have in your travel bank for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? The first step is to open an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that offer many features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, spending habits and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards excellent to hack travel
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Chase United Explorer
- JetBlue Mastercard
- Capital One Venture X
If you’ve been approved for a credit card you’ll need to reach the spending limit for minimum expenditure in order to qualify for the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to look up the details. From there it’s all about building miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your ideas?
Now that you’ve built up the points amount, it’s time to redeem them for some sweet travel! Different credit card companies have different methods of redeeming your points. Here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Take a trip through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have a Chase card, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to almost every airline, and you can use a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can book your flight entirely on points if you have enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the entire cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Be careful that if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points away, United provides the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? You should look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue dollar or points but not both. But, JetBlue has a unique feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to establish that you’re a real family member prior to trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel companion Becca You’re probably quite economical and it’s challenging to attempt to spend 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 our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually at least 3%. It could be worthwhile over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the minimum spend is to pay for an medical bill. If you don’t have any medical bills coming up then ask your relatives if you could pay them for theirs, and they can reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using an credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full , so that you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have 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 taking the initiative.
If you’re celebrating the holidays take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready for giving gifts. Be sure to avoid spending more than you were already contemplating to.
There are a lot of ways to get the most from the travel credit card. accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card to book your hotel, flight or rental car, as well as other travel costs. Not only will you be able to meet the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card and earn points, but you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spend and earn points is by making use of your credit card for daily expenses. This could include things like gas, groceries, and even your phone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t pay interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Some travel credit cards will offer miles or points in exchange on certain kinds of purchases, such as eating out or travelling. Be sure to review your rewards program on your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has the introductory APR of 0% for balance transfers. This will enable you to pay off your debts without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum spend for the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of miles or points make sure you use them in a responsible manner. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For instance, using your points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater return than using them for an gift card.
Another suggestion is to use an rewards card that permits you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This allows you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access wider selection of hotels, flights and other travel benefits that aren’t available through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will save you money on travel-related costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance as well as rental car insurance baggage protection and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion and both of you get rewards on your credit card. Just remember that you can’t share the costs on the same card and make sure to track your rewards separately.
The key to making the most of your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re making use of it in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences, and enjoy a wide assortment of travel-related perks.