Are you fed up of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking could be the solution to all your travel woes. It’s an exciting way to turn credit card welcome bonuses and other incentives into miles which you can use to get discounted or even cheap flights from your dream destinations. With a little bit of imagination and a little bit of insider knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free within a matter of minutes.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is the art of swapping credit card sign-up bonus and incentives for airline miles. These miles can then be used to buy discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also let you redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The most effective method for success in 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 it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the price is under $300, it’s best to pay cash and use your miles to pay to book a higher-priced flight. If your flights begin to climb over $500, you’ll need to review your frequent flyer accounts and determine which airline offers you the best price. It all boils down to the number of points or miles you have you have in your travel savings account for every airline.
Start with Travel Hacking
Ready to learn the secrets to travel hacking? Your first task is to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are many great credit cards that provide various features and benefits. It all depends on your preferred airline, your spending habits, and the features that are most important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit cards that are 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 minimum spend limit in order to receive the bonus. Every credit card has its own set of rules, so be certain to verify this information. From there it’s all about building up miles, and using them to book your dream trip!
Are you ready to go on a jet-setting with your points?
After you’ve accrued the points balance, it’s time to cash them in 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 ones I’ve had experience with:
Getaway through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you’re a holder of a Chase card, you can redeem your points via the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to nearly every airline. You can make use of a combination of the points as well as cash in order to book your trip. You can even book completely with points if you’ve the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t have enough points to cover the total cost, you are able to book flights using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash with the credit card of your choice.
Are you tired of paying the full cost for your flights? Did you realize that when booking directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? But, be careful in case you don’t have enough points, you cannot combine points and dollars on one flight. If you’re only a couple of points short, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Take a look at JetBlue! JetBlue offers a comfortable and enjoyable flight experience with extra space and complimentary snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to that of United Airlines, allowing customers to book using either JetBlue dollar or points, however, not both. The difference is that JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can join your points with family members to accrue points twice as quickly. Just make sure you can 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 You’re probably quite thrifty and it’s difficult to think of spending thousands of dollars to reach the minimum spend for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried 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 pay your rent with credit card, go for it! Make sure you be charged a fee, typically about 3 percent. It could be worthwhile in the end when the bonus is large enough.
Pay for a medical bill
Another way to reach the spending limit is to cover the medical bills. If you do not have any medical expenses in the near future Ask your relatives if you could pay for theirs and they’ll reimburse you.
Make a payment to pay off the loan
If you’re a borrower, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Just make sure you pay the credit card balance in full so you don’t end up with more debt.
Ask family members for assistance
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can contribute for. Make sure that you are able to are able to trust the person and that they are aware of the reason for doing this.
If you’re celebrating the holidays, consider buying all of your gifts with the credit card you have. So you’ll be able to hit that minimum spend and be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already contemplating to.
There are a lot of methods to get the most of using your credit or debit card for travel and accrue points or miles to be used towards flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising the rewards you earn:
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
When you’re planning your next trip, use you travel credit card for booking your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel-related expenses. In addition, you’ll be able to hit the required amount to earn your credit card reward as well, but you’ll also be earning points or miles for the costs.
Make use of your credit card to pay for everyday expenditures
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points using your credit card to pay everyday costs. This could be things like gas, groceries or even your phone bill. Be sure to pay off the balance in full every month to ensure you don’t pay interest.
Benefit from bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, like eating out or traveling. Make sure you review your rewards program on your credit card and make use of the bonus categories that are in line with your spending routines.
Think about a balance transfer
If you have existing outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance to a travel credit card with an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will let you pay off the debt without accruing interest and simultaneously aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card’s bonus.
Use your points or miles carefully
If you’ve amassed a large amount of miles or points, be sure to use them in a responsible manner. Examine the rewards program of your credit card and compare the worth of various redemption options. For example using your points to book a flight directly through the airline may offer better value than using them for a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will allow you to enjoy a greater variety of options and greater freedom when it comes to you want to redeem your rewards. For instance, you might be eligible to transfer your reward to an airline’s frequent flyer program or a Hotel rewards programme. This will give you access to a larger range of flights, hotels, and other travel perks which are not offered through the rewards program on your credit card.
Additionally, try to find out if your credit card offers some perks that could reduce your travel costs. A lot of credit cards provide travel insurance, rental car insurance, baggage protection and other benefits that could be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with someone else each of you will be able to get rewards on your own credit card. Be aware that you cannot share the costs on the same card and make sure you keep track of your rewards in a separate manner.
Overall, the key to maximizing your rewards for travel is to be aware of your credit card’s rewards program and to ensure you’re making use of your credit card in the most effective method possible. By using an array of strategies I’ve outlined that you can earn rewards quickly, redeem them for valuable travel experiences and benefit from a wide assortment of travel-related perks.