Are you tired of paying thousands of dollars on travel? Well, good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s an exciting way to convert credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into airline miles which can be used to score discounted or complimentary flights for your ideal destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider information, you’ll be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is about swapping credit card sign-up bonus as well as incentives to earn airline miles. The miles can be used to pay for cheap or free flight tickets. Certain credit cards permit you to use miles towards hotel stays or car rental deals.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the credit card sign-up bonus and building out frequent flyer miles on a select group of airlines. When it comes time to book a flight take a look at the price. If the price is less than $300, it’s generally better to pay cash and save your miles for a more expensive flight. When the flights start getting higher than $500, it’s best to check the frequent flyer account and find out which airline will give you the best deal. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have in your travel account for every airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you interested in learning the secrets to hacking travel? The first step is opening the credit card that comes that comes with a welcome bonus. There are a lot of fantastic credit cards that offer various benefits and features. It depends on the type of airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most crucial to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are great 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 or debit card, you’ll need to hit the limit of spending minimum in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so make sure to check for this information. From there it’s all about building up miles and then using them to book your dream trip!
Ready to jet-set with your goals?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to redeem them for some delicious getaway! Different credit card companies will have different methods of redeeming your rewards, here are a few examples from some of the ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you have an Chase cards, you are able to use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. In this portal you’ll have access to nearly every airline. You can combine points and cash to book your trip. You can even book entirely with points if you’ve enough balance! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the entire price, you can book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United, you have the option to pay with either points or dollars? But, be careful, if you do not have enough points you cannot combine points and dollars on the same flight. No worries though, if you’re a few points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom and free snacks. Plus, their booking process is like United’s which allows customers to book using either JetBlue points or dollars, but not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature that lets you join your points with your family members and earn points twice as fast. Make sure to verify that you are a family member before trying to hack the system.
Reach that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me or my travel buddy Becca I’m sure you’re pretty frugal and it can be challenging to attempt to spend thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for a credit card bonus. Don’t worry, we’ve been through it and are here to share 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! Be prepared to pay a fee, usually around 3 percent. It may be worth it in the long run when the bonus is large enough.
Make a payment on a medical expense
Another way to reach the required spending is to pay for an medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future then ask your relatives if you could pay their medical bills and they will reimburse you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower take into consideration repaying them using an 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
Discuss your family with them and see if they have any large expenses coming up which you could help pay for. Be sure to be sure that you’re able to are able to trust the person and that they understand why you’re doing this.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts using the credit card you have. This way you can reach the minimum spending requirement and also be prepared to give gifts. Just make sure you’re not spending more than you were thinking of.
There are a lot of ways to make the most out of the travel credit card. earn miles or points to be used towards airfares or other travel-related costs. Here are a few more ideas for maximizing the rewards you earn:
Make travel reservations using your credit card
If you’re planning a trip, make use of you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel, rental car, and other travel costs. Not only will you achieve the minimum amount of spending required for your credit card bonus, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on the expenses.
Use your credit card for everyday costs
Another way to hit the minimum spend and earn points is making use of your credit card to pay for daily expenditures. This could include things like food, gas and even your telephone bill. Be sure to pay the balance off in full each month so you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or bonus points for specific types of purchases, such as dining or travel. Be sure to review your credit card’s rewards program and avail the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Take into consideration a balance transfer
If you have existing debt on a high-interest credit card, you might want to transfer that balance onto an account with a travel credit card that has an introductory rate of 0% 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 wisely
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them wisely. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example using points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better return than using them for an gift card.
Another tip is to use a rewards card that allows you to transfer reward points into other loyalty programmes. This will allow you to have a wider range of choices and more flexibility when making use of your rewards. For example, you may be capable of transferring your rewards to an airline’s frequent flyer program or Hotel rewards programme. This can give an access larger variety of hotels, flights as well as other travel perks that aren’t available through the rewards program of your credit card.
Additionally, try to discover whether your credit card has some perks that could help you save money on travel expenses. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that can be extremely valuable when you’re traveling.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to earn rewards using your credit card. Just remember that you can’t divide the cost with the same card. Also, make sure to keep track of your rewards separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of the rewards program of your credit card and make sure you’re using this program in the most efficient way possible. Utilizing all of the strategies I’ve outlined, you’ll be able to earn rewards fast, exchange them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.