Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card bonus and sign-up incentives into miles that can then be used to get discounted or even complimentary flights for your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and some information, you’ll fly for no cost within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of exchanging credit card sign-up bonuses as well as incentives to earn airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discounted or even free flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car deals.
How Does it Work?
The secret to successful hacking your travel plans is to take advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When you are ready to book a flight, evaluate the cost. If the cost is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account and determine which airline offers you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to travel hacking? First step opening an account that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that provide many features and benefits. It depends on the type of airline, your habits with spending and what features are essential to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are some credit cards perfect 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 hit the limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Every card has different rules, so be sure to look up this information. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to set sail with your ideas?
Once you’ve accumulated your points balance, you’re ready to cash them in for some nice getaway! Different credit card providers will have different methods for redeeming your points. Here are some examples from a few of the companies I’ve worked with:
Take a trip by using Chase Ultimate Rewards
If you’re a holder of a Chase credit card, then you are able to redeem your points through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll get access to almost every airline. You can make use of a combination of points and cash to book your travel. You can even book completely on points if you have the funds to pay for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t 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 using every credit card.
Are you fed up of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United you can choose the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you do not have enough points you can’t combine dollars and points for the same flight. No worries though, if you’re only a couple of points away, United provides the option to purchase additional miles.
Are you looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant travel experience that includes extra legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is like United’s that allows customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. But, JetBlue is unique in that they offer a feature that allows you to join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Just make sure you can 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 buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty frugal and it can be daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars in order to meet the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. Don’t worry because we’ve been there and we’re here to share some of our tricks and tips.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is an important one! If you’re able to pay your rent using a credit card, do it! Make sure you pay a fee, usually about 3%. It might be worth it in the end if the bonus is high enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members to pay them for theirs, and they will repay you.
Repay a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider paying them off with your credit card. Make sure to pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Talk to your family and see if they have any large expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to have confidence in the person you are talking to and they understand why you’re taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with cards from your credit account. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and be ready for giving gifts. Make sure that you’re not spending more than you already thinking of.
There are many ways to get the most from the travel credit card. You can accumulate miles or points that you can be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are a few more ways to maximize your rewards
Make travel reservations using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a vacation, make use of you travel credit card for booking your hotel, flight, rental car, and other travel costs. In addition, you’ll achieve the minimum amount of spending required to earn your credit card bonus as well, but you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenditures.
Use your credit card for all your daily costs
Another way to meet the minimum spend to earn rewards is by using your credit card for daily expenses. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay the balance off in full every month to ensure you don’t accumulate interest.
Make the most of bonus categories
A lot of travel credit cards provide miles or points in exchange for specific types of purchases, like dining or travel. Be sure to review the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that match with your spending habits.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you are currently in debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer the balance to an account with a travel credit card that has a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off your debts 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 carefully
When you’ve earned a significant amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly with the airline might provide you with a greater value than using them to purchase an gift card.
Another option is to get an rewards card that permits you to transfer your points to other loyalty programs. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of choices and more flexibility in redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your rewards to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. 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.
In addition, you should determine whether your credit card has certain benefits that will help you save money on travel expenses. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to earn rewards with your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot split the cost on the same card, and be sure to keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
The key to maximizing your travel rewards is to understand the rewards program on your credit card and make sure you’re using it in the most effective method. Through all of the strategies I’ve outlined that you can get rewards in a short time, use them for travel experiences that are worth it and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.