Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on travel? Good news! Travel hacking can be the solution to all your travel problems. It’s a fun way to convert credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives into airline miles which you can use to score discounted or cheap flights from your desired destinations. With a bit of imagination and some knowledge, you can be jet-setting for free in no time.
The Basics of Travel Hacking
Travel hacking is all about trading credit card sign-up bonuses and incentives for airline miles. These miles can later be used to pay for discount or no-cost flights. Certain credit cards will also allow you to redeem miles towards hotel stays or rental car discounts.
How Does it Work?
The key to successful hacking travel is taking advantage of the sign-up bonuses for credit cards and building out a frequent flyer mile program for a specific group of airlines. When it’s time to make a booking take a look at the price. If the cost is under $300, it’s usually better to pay in cash and use your miles to pay to take a more costly flight. When the flights start getting above $500, you’ll want to review the frequent flyer account to find out which airline will give you the best price. All it boils down to is the number of miles or points in your travel account for each airline.
Begin by Getting Started with Travel Hacking
Are you ready to discover the secrets of travel hacking? First step to open an account with a sign-up bonus. There are plenty of great credit cards that provide various benefits and features. It is all dependent on the airline, your habits with spending and what features are important to you.
Top Credit Card Picks
Here are a few credit card options that can be excellent for travel hacking:
- 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 limit of spending minimum in order to get the bonus. Each card has its own guidelines, so make sure to check for the details. From there, it’s all about racking up miles and using them to book your dream vacation!
Ready to jet-set with your points?
Once you’ve accumulated the points amount, it’s time to use them towards delicious travel! Different credit card companies will offer different ways to redeem your rewards, here are some examples from some of the providers I’ve had experience with:
Escape through Chase Ultimate Reward
If you own a Chase cards, you can use your points to redeem them through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Within it, you’ll get access to virtually every airline. You can make use of a combination of money and points to book your next trip. You can even book completely on points if you have the balance for it! Sometimes, even if you don’t be able to accumulate enough points in order to pay for entire cost, you still can buy flights with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and pay the balance in cash using any credit card.
Are you fed up of paying full price for your flight tickets? Did you not know that when you book directly through United You have the option of paying with either points or dollars? Butbe aware that if you don’t have enough points, you aren’t able to combine dollars and points on flights. If you’re just a few points away, United gives you the possibility of purchasing additional miles.
Looking for a domestic flight? Look no further than JetBlue! JetBlue offers passengers a relaxing and pleasant flight experience , with more legroom as well as free snacks. Additionally, their booking process is similar to United’s which allows passengers to book flights using JetBlue points or dollars, however, not both. But, JetBlue offers a distinct feature where you can combine your points with family members to accrue points twice as fast. Make sure to prove you’re really family before trying to hack the system.
Hit that Minimum Spend
If you’re like me and my travel buddy Becca, you’re probably pretty thrifty and it’s daunting to try to spend thousands of dollars to hit the required amount to qualify for the credit card bonus. However, don’t be worried, we’ve been through it and we’re here to share our tips and tricks.
Pay your rent (if you can)
This is a big one! If you’re able to pay for your rent using credit card, go for it! Just be prepared to pay a cost, which is usually about 3 percent. It may be worth it over the long term in the event that the bonus is substantial enough.
Pay a medical bill
Another excellent way to meet the spending limit is to pay for a medical bill. If you do not have any medical expenses coming up, ask your family members if you can pay their medical bills and they will repay you.
Pay off a loan
If you’re a borrower, consider making payments on them with your credit card. Be sure to pay off the balance on your credit card completely so that you don’t accumulate more debt.
Ask family for help
Ask your family members to see if they have any big expenses coming up that you can help pay for. Just make sure you trust the person and they are aware of the reason for taking the initiative.
If it’s the holiday season take into consideration buying all your gifts with your credit card. In this way, you’ll hit that minimum spend and also be ready for gift giving. Make sure that you’re not paying more than you already thinking of.
There are a lot of methods to get the most out of using your credit or debit card for travel and earn miles or points to spend on flights or other travel-related expenses. Here are some additional suggestions for maximising your rewards
Pay for travel expenses using your credit card
Whenever you’re planning a trip, use your travel credit card to book your flight, hotel or rental car, as well as any other travel expenses. You’ll not only be able to hit the minimum spend for your credit card reward as well, however, you’ll also earn points or miles on those costs.
Utilize your credit card to pay for everyday expenses
Another way to hit the minimum amount of spending in order to accumulate points by making use of your credit card to pay every day expenses. This could include things like food, gas, and even your phone bill. Make sure you pay off the balance each month in full so you don’t accumulate interest.
Take advantage of bonus categories
Many travel credit cards offer miles or points in exchange for certain types of purchases, such as eating out or traveling. Check out the rewards program of your credit card and avail any bonus categories that align with your spending routines.
Think about the possibility of transferring your balance
If you’re in the middle of a outstanding debt due to a high-interest credit card, think about transferring that balance onto the travel credit card which has an introductory rate of 0% for balance transfers. This will allow you to pay off the debt without accruing interest, and also aid in achieving the minimum amount required to earn the credit card bonus.
Make use of your miles or points wisely
Once you’ve accumulated a substantial amount of points or miles make sure you use the points or miles wisely. Review the rewards program for your credit card and then compare the value of different redemption options. For example you can use points to purchase a flight directly with the airline could provide you with a greater value than using them for the purchase of a gift card.
Another tip is to use rewards cards that allow you to transfer rewards to different loyalty program. This will let you get a wider selection of options and greater freedom when it comes to redeeming your rewards. For instance, you might be able to transfer your reward to the frequent flyer program of an airline or hotel rewards program. This will give you access to a greater range of flights, hotels as well as other travel perks which are not accessible through the rewards program on your credit card.
Also, determine if your credit card offers some perks that could help you save money on travel costs. Many cards offer travel insurance and rental car insurance, baggage protection, and other benefits that can be very beneficial when traveling.
When you travel with a companion each of you will be able to get rewards on your credit card. Make sure you don’t divide the cost with the same card and make sure to track the rewards you earn separately.
In the end, the most important thing to do to making the most of your travel rewards is to know your credit card’s rewards program and ensure that you’re using it in the most effective way possible. Utilizing a combination of the methods I’ve described in this article, you’ll be able earn rewards quickly, redeem rewards for valuable travel experiences and take advantage of a broad assortment of travel-related perks.