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 an exciting method to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles that can then be used to obtain discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a bit of creativity and some insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free in no time.
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 buy discount or no-cost flights. Some credit cards also permit you to use miles for hotel stays and car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and to establish frequent flyer miles for a specific group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the price is less than $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. If your flights begin to climb higher than $500, it’s best to check those frequent flyer accounts and find out which airline will give you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles in your travel bank for each airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? Your first task is to open the credit card that comes with a sign-up offer. There are many great credit cards with various features and benefits. It is all dependent on the airline, your spending habits, and what features are crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are perfect for travel hacking:
- 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 limit of spending minimum in order to qualify for the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to check for the details. Then, it’s all about racking up miles, and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
After you’ve accrued your points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious vacation! Different credit card providers will offer different ways to redeem your points. Here are a few examples from some of the companies I’ve worked with:
Escape by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you have a Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to almost every airline, and you can combine money and points to book your travel. You can book your flight entirely using points if you’ve got enough balance! Sometimes even if you do not have enough points to cover the full cost, you are able to purchase flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with every credit card.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for flights? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars for one flight. If you’re only a couple of point short United gives you the option to purchase additional miles.
Looking for a flight within the United States? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue provides an enjoyable and comfortable flight experience , with more space and complimentary snacks. In addition, their booking procedure is like United’s that allows you to book with either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. However, JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you pool your points together with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can verify that you are a family member before trying to hack into the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried as we’ve done 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 using credit card, then do it! Just be prepared to pay a fee, usually about 3 percent. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high 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 in the near future Ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off a loan
If you have any loans take into consideration repaying them using your credit card. Just make sure you pay off the credit card balance completely so that you don’t accrue more debt.
Ask family for help
Talk to your family and see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Just make sure you trust the person and they know why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using cards from your credit account. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready for giving gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most of your travel credit card and earn miles or points to spend on the cost of flights or other expenses related to travel. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing your rewards:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next vacation, make use of the travel credit card to pay for your hotel, flight, rental car, and any other travel expenses. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus, but you’ll also earn points or miles to cover these costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay to pay for your everyday costs
Another method to reach the minimum spending requirement to earn rewards is by making use of your credit card for everyday expenditures. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Just make sure to pay the balance off each month in full so you don’t accrue interest charges.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide bonus points or miles on certain kinds of purchases, like 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.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, consider transferring that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest. It will also aid in achieving the minimum spending requirement for the credit card’s bonus.
Make use of your miles or points prudently
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles, be sure to use the points or miles wisely. Check out the rewards program on your credit card and compare the benefits of different redemption options. For instance using points to purchase a flight directly with the airline might offer better return than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another option is to get rewards cards that allow you to transfer your rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to have a wider range of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or a reward program for hotels. This gives you access to a larger selection of hotels, flights, and other travel perks which are not available through the rewards program of your credit card.
In addition, you should discover whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that could be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
If you’re traveling with someone else, both of you can earn rewards using your credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card. Also, make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to know the rewards program of your credit card and ensure that you’re using this program in the most efficient method possible. Utilizing all of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards fast, exchange rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad variety of travel benefits.